The government instead of performing role of custodian, has becomes instrumental in the erosion of national flag carrier PIA; through abuse, cronyism and mismanagement. 

With enough ethnic traffic to make PIA break-even and become profitable, all that was required from every government that has held office, since days of Zia ul Haq, was to appoint men of integrity and competence at helm who would recruit best qualified available talent. In an age of specialization CAA Pakistan, with abundance of revenues, should have acquired services of qualified and experienced persons to perform its regulatory control as per ICAO guidelines and not become a dumping ground for welfare of retired officers and political blue eyes cronies. 

As demand for number of passenger seats and air cargo exceeded with rise in expatriates Pakistanis living in Gulf, Europe, America etc, fair share was necessary to be offered to other regional airlines so that competition offered would prevent any complacency from setting in. Instead what happened was that controversial individuals, some with history of financial and administrative indiscipline were appointed as CEO of both PIA and CAA. Excess traffic rights were given to foreign airlines, which ultimately created a surplus capacity exceeding available number of revenue passengers to disadvantage of national airline. The regional Gulf based airlines owned and subsidized by their states went on a rampage in a Fare-War patronized by ruling elite who were hostage to their own conflicts of interest. 

Lack of regulatory oversight, kickbacks in procurement and leasing of aircraft and unchecked revenue pilferage coupled with appointment of incompetent and corrupt cronies drove Operating Cost so high that Accumulated Losses have risen from Rs 4 Billion in 2005 to over Rs 330 Billion by mid of 2017. Instead of aggressive marketing and financial indiscipline even foreign postings became hostage to politics and Manager Passport was posted as Country Head USA while a CEO accused for gross financial and recruitment irregularities by AVM Mushaf appointed as MD. 

Annual losses of over Rs1 Billion on US operation could be curtailed by eliminating cost of positioning aircraft from Karachi to northern hubs where 80% of traffic originates, reducing extra parking charges involved at JFK, rationalizing salaries, reducing administrative costs etc. Who pocketed goodwill on grandfather rights for slots at JFK will remain a mystery? 


Lahore, November 5.