How can PIA be reformed to bring down losses?

PM Imran Khan has ordered to reform the PIA in order to bring down the losses. However, analysts are not sure if the strong unions and lobbies within the PIA will ever allow the authorities to restructure the national airline. Read our detailed story.

PIA be reformed

Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday ordered the restructuring of the national flag carrier to diminish the burden of its losses on people. He was presiding over a meeting on aviation in the backdrop of the recent PIA plane crash in Karachi that had claimed about 100 lives, the prime minister said: “Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the country’s economy is facing difficulties and the people have had to bear the burden of billions of rupees loss on a monthly basis suffered by the state-owned entities.” But the question is how can PIA be reformed?

According to an official press release issued by the Prime Minister Office (PMO), the prime minister issued directives to bring down expenditures of the national flag carrier and focus on an increase in its income, financial resources, and upgrade of its fleet.

In an important development, it recently emerged that the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) had suffered a loss of Rs 3.194 billion in March on account of aeronautical charges after suspension of international flight operations amid coronavirus outbreak.

A few days ago, GVS learnt that passenger car sales witnessed another bad month as sales plunged by 71.8% to 5,796 units in March 2020, as compared to the same period last year, amid the coronavirus lockdown in the country.

Read More: President asks PIA CEO to expedite compensation process for families of victims

Social scientists believe that the country is likely to face social chaos as a result of the economic crisis. “People are running short of food now. There is no work for daily wagers. There is nothing to earn,” said G-M Pitafi, professor of Politics and International Relations at UMT, Lahore.  He also feared that street crimes may increase for people won’t have food and they will break both social norms and legal rules to fulfill their basic needs.

Unions and lobbies: How can PIA be reformed? 

Notably, PIA has multiple unions and associations which are often found blackmailing senior management on one issue or the other. Arshad Malik, and his team, had taken on the unions head-on and removed hundreds of PIA employees who were holding fake degrees. Under his management, in the last one year, PIA has increased its revenues by 41%. National Airline is under debts of more than Rs. 400 billion and no business entity is prepared to invest in PIA. Airline also finds it difficult to raise finances from the market. And when it succeeds as it recently did through Standard Chartered Bank (SCB) Dubai it has to pay a much higher markup.

12 plane crash incidents: Make all plane crash reports public

to address the question as to how can PIA be reformed, Federal Aviation Minister Ghulam Sarwar Khan said that the government had announced Rs1 million compensation for the families of those who were killed in the PIA plane crash.

He said that 12 plane crash incidents have happened till yet since the creation of Pakistan, adding that all investigation reports on the plane crash will be made public and to be present before parliament.

“Government will present the initial investigation report of PIA plane crash before parliament on June 22,” said the minister.

Read More: PIA PK 8303: The cost of incompetency

The aircraft with 99 passengers and crew members on board had crashed while trying to make an emergency landing at Karachi airport. Only two people survived the tragic incident.

PALPA protests probe leak

Meanwhile, the PALPA on Tuesday protested against the alleged leak of details of a probe into the plane crash.

“The administration seems no more interested in conducting a thorough probe into the incident,” PALPA claimed in a statement, adding that the leak was aimed at diverting the investigation into the incident that claimed lives of 97 people onboard except two survivors. “They want to save the real characters behind the incident,” it alleged.

Read More: PM Khan briefed about PIA plane crash investigation as black box found

The association said that the pilots also have questions to be asked from the air traffic control officials.

They asked why a long route was designated for the ill-fated plane. “The air traffic control officials are trying to portray a wrong picture by merging details of first and second landing attempts of the plane,” PALPA said.

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