LAHORE - PIA Managing director Muhamamd Junaid Yunus has said that within one year the airline will be on the break-even level followed by profitability in years to come and no employee will be laid off. The availability of fleet has increased to 26 aircraft helping in restoring schedule and introduction of 25 additional flights as well.

This he stated while addressing a press briefing in Head Office on Monday. Dy. Managing Director Engineering, Air Vice Marshall, Qasim Masood Khan, Director Flight Operations, Captain Khalid Hamza and Director Marketing Khurram Mushtaq were also present on the occasion.

He said if we have a fleet of 38-40 aircraft there is no need to look for Governmental assistance any more. Yunus said he is completely in agreement with the statement of Federal Minister of Information Pervez Rasheed that if the airline can manage its affairs through its own resources, there is no need to privatize it. We shall do the same and let me assure the Government that PIA is recovering fast and we will be no more a burden on State, he said.

PIA has introduced 25 additional flights in its winter schedule 2013 including a new flight to Toronto making it to 4 per week, 6 flights to Manchester, 4 flights to Birmingham, 5 flights to Kuala Lampur, 22 flights to Dubai, 8 flights to Abu Dhabi, 7 to Muscat, 2 flights to Katmandu on international routes whereas 4 additional flights on Karachi-Islamabad, 3 between Islamabad and Lahore and two additional flights between Quetta and Islamabad.

Yunus said that like leading airlines of world we have adopted Shrink to Grow philosophy according to which the aircraft deployment is according to economic viability of route.

Amsterdam and Frankfurt have been closed and the aircraft is being utilised on more profitable route in Gulf. Similarly utilisation of aircraft has been improved on domestic routes too.  He said that we have made all arrangements to acquire new aircraft. Previously this acquisition didn’t materialise due certain reasons but now very soon new planes will be included in PIA fleet. He said the optimum fleet requirement is 38-40 aircraft and once we have this number the airline will become self-sufficient rather profitable. Yunus said 2013 has been a tough year for us mainly due fleet constraint and of course very low quantum of Umra traffic due restrictions from Saudi Arabia. But now the results are very encouraging and the revenues are on increase.

He said we are also practicing various cost-cutting measures especially the fuel-saving exercises are under way. Presently we have around 16,600 employees and in few years around 3000-4000 employees will be retiring but no new induction will be made and therefore employee ratio per aircraft will be reduced.

He said all efforts are being taken for the betterment of airline with active participation of employees and the results are very promising, said Junaid Yunus. The smooth and on time Haj operation is an example of it. So far we have been able to transport more than 29,000 Hujjaj through 70 flights with a punctuality rate of above 95pc. The increase in fleet availability has helped us in reducing the delays occurring earlier.