ISLAMABAD: Finance Minister Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar today claimed that the PML-N government has no plans whatsoever, to privatize the national flag carrier Pakistan International Airlines (PIA).

Finance Minister Dar said that the government in fact only plans to seek a strategic partner for the airline and added that efforts would be made to invite credible and reputed international strategic partners to the extent of 26% in only the core business of PIA, said a press release issued today.

He further said that the process of selecting the strategic partners would be carried out ensuring complete transparency. The Finance Minister clarified that there will be no layoffs in PIA, while all the employees will continue their jobs and careers without any charge in their normal terms and conditions.

The PML (N) government has taken the initiative for restructuring exercise of PIA immediately after assuming office in June 2013, while the improvement in the overall working of the airline was visible. The number of operational aircraft available with PIA has increased from 18 in June 2013 to 38 at present, while the figure will rise to 40 by the end of this month, said Dar.

In addition, he said, the on-time performance of PIA has improved to 82% which is comparable with the top Middle Eastern airlines. He said that the ordinance issued by Government recently aimed at freeing the PIA management from government control and enabling it to take its decisions promptly and independently in a transparent manner in the best interests of the company and ensuring early implementation of those decisions.

The minister said, will now follow the Code of Corporate Governance which will help create a better environment for the management by reducing legal problems and chances of fraud. Dar said that the confidence that all its employees would put in their best to help ensure that PIA achieved international service standards.