LAHORE - Several blue-eyed contract employees of the national flag carrier are drawing monthly salary of up to Rs 1.8 million whereas its regular employees working against similar slots are not being paid more than Rs 250,000 as their per month remuneration.

Some senior officers of the national flag carrier seeking anonymity said, “It causes much heartburning among the regular employees when the management hires the services of such blue-eyed officers against heavy salaries.”

“I am a regular officer of the national flag carrier, serving as a director and drawing not more than Rs 250,000 whereas a newly hired director customer services is drawing Rs 1.8 million salary per month,” a senior officer of PIA said on condition of not to be named.

Similarly, some other senior officers, including HR executive director, chief information technology officer and senior general manager (vigilance), hired on contract basis, are getting Rs 800,000 to Rs 1.6 million monthly salary, he said.

The airline has carried out reforms while fleet expansion is also under consideration by the end of the current financial year to boost its performance, but there is no significant improvement in the matters; rather the airline has missed revenue target of Rs 54.77 billion set for the first six months of 2016. The revenue is 6.4 percent less as compared to Rs 46.15 billion during the same period of the last year.

This was revealed by the top officials of the airline while briefing the Senate Special Committee on Performance of PIA. The committee raised questions on the PIA’s financial matters, services, lack of professionals and directed the management to give due attention to capacity building of its flight crew and ensure improved facilities and services for passengers besides making the airline a strong competitor in the market.

PIA Chairman Azam Saigol said the government had 91.7 percent shares in the airline. “The airline was converted it into a company on April 19, 2016 and was being governed under the Companies Ordinance, 1984. Public/others have 4.4 percent shares while PIA Employees Empowerment Trust is shareholder of 3.9 percent,” the chairman revealed.

When the panel was informed that PIA was answerable to the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan, Farhatullah Babar said parliamentarians had the right to exercise their oversight role as public money was involved in the airline, so it was their responsibility to do so. He regretted a foreigner had been appointed as the chief executive officer of the national flag carrier, which was discouraging for its senior management.

When contacted, PIA spokesman Mashhood Tajwar said the hiring of contractual officers was an old matter and they were being paid inflated salaries because of their contractual services. He claimed all of these officers had background of aviation industry.

The PIA management could not satisfy the committee members about the financial matters of the national flag carrier.