Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) keeps hitting new lows, from drug smuggling allegations to plain old bad service. According to reports on Tuesday, PIA lost millions as a result of a technical shutdown for several hours. This resulted in the disruption of the schedule and a seven-hour delay in flights. The PIA spokesperson said that the problem must be at SABRE’s end; an IT company owned by United Airlines in America. However, if that was the case, the services of United Airlines should have been disrupted too. Airlines usually have a backup IT system, but not our threadbare national carrier. Since PIA’s staff is neither qualified nor experienced, the situation took hours to control.

A lot has to do with the appointments in the institution, which are politically backed and result in inexperienced people occupying lucrative posts. The current IT Director, Azhar Nawaz, is also said to have no aviation experience, and has been previously working for NADRA.

The irony is that despite proof of all these incidents, they remain adamant that these are only stories trying to defame the airline. The official statement of PIA is still that only two flights were affected by the IT shutdown.

This month alone witnessed three controversies. First it was the PIA pilot who left the plane in the hands of a trainee to catch up on sleep. Then it was the leaked video of the Chinese passenger who got invited to the cockpit by the pilot. However, that did not satisfy their urge to be in the limelight and so PIA staff were seen detained on the Heathrow Airport when heroin was seized from the plane.

The staff clearly does not realise that the airline represents the country. There is no choice but to privatise the airline, something our corrupt political leadership and this corrupt state enterprise just has not been able to stomach. The national carrier needs to stop being a national embarrassment.