LAHORE - The last PIA flight from Lahore to New York left Allama Iqbal International Airport at 6:15 am on Saturday.

The flight was with full load of passengers, said a PIA officer. He said it was the last flight from Lahore to New York and after this there would be no flight from Pakistan to America operated by the PIA.

The Nation had published a news story in the first week of October about suspension of PIA flights to New York. According to the plan, the airline had earlier cut booking to 50 percent. Later, one of the two flights was suspended. Finally, the last flight was suspended on Saturday.

An officer serving in the Lahore booking office of the PIA told this scribe, “We stopped reservations for PIA flight PK-712, operating from Lahore to New York, on October 10. However, the flight PK-711, which was operating on second day of the week, was available in the system and it was suspended on Saturday.”

Sources in the airline said that New York sector was incurring loss worth Rs 450 million annually and it was not even meeting its Direct Operating Cost (DOC). They said that it was due to poor marketing policies of the management wherein routes were given to foreign airlines. Those foreign airlines were operating flights to New York on a daily basis with good meal, active In-Flight Entertainment System, low fares and efficient and willing crew members.

The PIA had purchased a B-777-LR for long-route flights on inflated rates, but this route has been now closed due to poor management.

PIA SPAIN MANAGER SUSPENDED

The PIA management has suspended Spain Station Manager Salim Shahani for unknown reasons and directed Imran Jamal to take charge of the post.

Sources privy to the development said suspension was made in haste and the HR officer concerned was asked after office timing to issue the suspension orders of the officer. The sources said the officer demanded signatures of the authority on the orders on which he was told that the same would be managed Monday. He issued suspension orders Friday.  A PIA officer who had been de-seated from the said post and replaced by Shahani was behind the suspension of the latter, said sources in the national flag carrier.

A senior PIA officer seeking anonymity said transfers and postings were not being made in the airline purely on merit; rather it was being done on the basis of liking and disliking.

When contacted, spokesman for the national flag carrier, Mashhud Tajwar, said transfers/postings were being carried out on merit in the airline. He said there was no charge as yet against the officer under suspension and he had been directed to report to the marketing department. After his arrival in the country, he would be informed about the charges against him.