The losses incurred by Pakistan International Airlines have led several experts to consider a hitherto unconsidered option – to declare the national carrier bankrupt, close up shop and write it off as a bad investment in a bid to stop incurring any more losses. Prime Minister’s Adviser on Aviation Sardar Mehtab Abbasi presented this view in front of the Senate Special Committee on the Performance of PIA on Thursday – if he could convince political leaders across party lines, getting the government to comply might not be so hard anymore, considering it will not need to fear backlash from the opposition.

However, if the government were to shut down the operations of PIA as of now, it will be admitting that the past four years of making all sorts of changes to PIA have been for nothing. The government has tried a few different approaches at the surface but has continuously failed to realise that much deeper problems persist deep within the structures of the organisation. A facelift was not what PIA actually needs – it needs an internal overhaul if it is to survive in a competent market.

New wet leases, a premium service and changing the board members and replacing them with foreign leadership will be of little use if the bigger problems such as overstaffing, massive corruption and other structural problems are not even looked at. The employees found guilty of misconduct are only given a slap on the wrist – the best example of this is the two most recent cases of pilots erring; one allowed a Chinese woman in his cockpit even when regulations barred him from doing so while the other was caught napping on the job. There is a whole host of other examples that are just (if not more) as bad.

There is an argument to made for declaring PIA bankrupt, but that decision can only be approved if all other options have been exhausted, which is far from the case in this situation. Unless the government looks to sack inefficient staff members and take out the redundancies, the airline will continue to incur losses.