KARACHI - PIA Chairman and CEO Air Chief Marshal (r) Rao Qamar Suleman presided over the 55th annual general meeting (AGM) of the airline at a local hotel on Saturday.

A spokesman of the airline said that the PIA shareholders enthusiastically participated and put forth their suggestions for turning around the national airline.

Addressing the shareholders, PIA chairman informed that during 2011, despite many challenges PIA added new destinations including Zahedan, Colombo, and Madina.

He said that in the face of competition, PIA managed to retain its international market share of 39 percent and increased its domestic market share to 76 percent from 74 percent of last year.

However, during 2011, slow economic growth in developed economies placed pressure on aviation business across the globe resulting in economic uncertainty.

International travel growth remained depressed and showed mixed performance across regions.

The outgoing year witnessed an increase in average jet fuel price from USD 80 per barrel in 2010 to USD 110 per barrel in 2011. PIA was exposed to volatility in the price of jet fuel.

On the domestic front, the rupee continued to depreciate against US dollar, starting the year at around 86 rupees per US dollar and closing at around 90 rupees per US dollar. Rupee depreciation still continues.

While, PIA commenced work on the development of a comprehensive business restructuring and turnaround plan to set in place the right strategies and controls needed to bring the corporation back on the path of profitable operations.

The turnaround plan and five year financial model would be put in place in the coming months. PIA has signed a purchase agreement with Boeing company for acquisition of five Boeing 777 aircraft. The Corporation also plans to induct narrow body aircraft to augment capacity and bring efficiency.

A focused approach to customer service will greatly help PIA return to profitability, the chairman further stated. He expressed confidence that with the support of federal government, the shareholders and a dedicated PIA family, the airline will overcome the challenges.

PIA shareholder Qadir Memon welcomed the appointment of Chairman & CEO Rao Qamar Suleman and presented him a bouquet, traditional Sindhi cap and Ajrak on the occasion.