LAHORE - Business Plan for induction of Boeing 777 submitted to EXIM Bank USA in the year 2002 justified induction on basis of revenue expansion, promising to make the airline profitable by 2010. But unfortunately now it has a total accumulated loss of over Rs 180 billion as on 30 Sept 2013, not because of any fault of aircraft, but because of mismanagement, massive pilferage, corruption and mediocrity dominate management with a history of irregularities, controversial procurement contracts, violation of merit, cronyism and incompetence.

Though present PIA MD declared a mind boggling third quarter loss of Rs 13.58 billion, for the period July to September 2013, which translates to a daily burden on tax payer of Rs.15 Crores, requires a total shakeup of the mediocrity dominated executives tainted either with incompetence, financial or administrative irregularities and political cronyism. This should have sent shock waves to PM Nawaz Sharif, who claimed economics to be his first priority that PIA which incurred a loss of Rs 4.4 billion during corresponding third quarter of 2012 under corrupt PPP government has tripled this loss under his tenure. Independent aviation analysts attribute this record loss to failure of Nawaz Government to replace existing management responsible for destroying this airline. Both PIAC and its subsidiary Pakistan International Airline Investment Limited (PIA-IL) are faced with similar problems. It would have been far better for PIAC to send politically appointed incompetent or corrupt executives on mandatory early retirement with all dues paid, instead of their being at helm, even beyond superannuation, plundering its depleting revenues.

There is no doubt that PIA desperately needed medium to short-range aircrafts far more than long-range aircrafts, because of high yield domestic and regional revenue loads. The choice of Boeing 737-800 is good, because the airline is replacing existing aged Boeing 737 fleet, bulk of which is grounded, having exhausted their fuselage life span. PIA operational and maintenance staff will be able to switch over relatively smoothly and economically to Boeing 737-800.

PM Nawaz Sharif had publicly stated during his election campaign that he will restore PIA to its past glory, but perhaps now forgotten this promise, being too busy with foreign tours, drone attacks, terrorism etc, to get rid of financial terrorists that seem to have destroyed many state-owned corporations like PIA from within. Without replacing the “cooks that spoiled the broth” he has no doubt replaced the Board of Directors, twice during his over 5 month tenure, without ridding the airline of rot within its paid executives, who through their incompetence, greed, conflicts of interest and corruption managed to force million of its former loyal ethnic expatriate clients to abandon this airline during past few years.

The Acting Chairman Syed Mohammad Gardezi has approved appointment of an Intermediate pass junior pilot as GM Fuel and Brands Management and Hamid Gardezi as Director Corporate Safety, further adding to an expanding top heavy management of an airline whose fleet, revenues and flight frequencies and aircraft utilisation have been shrinking constantly. Only good news is that PIA has just completed a relatively better post-Haj operation because a number of Hajjis were reduced due to restrictions imposed by Saudi Government. Arrangements made by PIA management were satisfactory and credit goes to MD, PIA, Capt Junaid Younis and Country Manager PIA in Saudi Arabia, Shahbaz Senior posted at Jeddah. The problem of PIA is that its already surplus employee strength was based on fleet of 40 aircrafts, while ground reality is that during past two years its serviceable fleet has never crossed 25 to 26 aircrafts, making PIA top list of employees to aircraft ratio in whole aviation industry.