PIA warns it needs emergency funds to keep its operations ongoing. The nation’s flagship carrier, is on the verge of a major crisis, with the possibility of suspending flight operations looming large if emergency funding is not secured by September 15. This alarming situation is a culmination of financial difficulties that have severely crippled PIA’s operational capacity.
A senior director from PIA revealed to Geo News that the airline’s operational fleet has shrunk from 23 aircraft to just 16, leading to the cancellation of numerous flights. Both Boeing and Airbus, the major aircraft manufacturers, have suspended the supply of spare parts to PIA due to unpaid bills. This has resulted in staggering daily losses, running into millions of rupees, as the airline’s flight operations are curtailed.
The situation escalated to such an extent that one PIA plane was temporarily detained at Dammam airport, while four others faced similar issues at Dubai airport, all due to unpaid fuel bills. These aircraft were allowed to leave only after PIA provided written assurances. In a related development, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) reinstated PIA services following an emergency payment of $3.5 million.
The senior PIA official issued a stark warning that, without an injection of approximately Rs23 billion in emergency funds, flight operations could come to a complete halt by September 15.
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In response to this dire situation, a PIA spokesperson issued a statement, emphasizing that the airline is making all-out efforts to prevent the suspension of flight operations.
The financial crisis has been mounting for weeks. On September 7, PIA announced the grounding of five out of its 13 leased aircraft, with the potential of grounding four more due to a severe financial crunch. Despite PIA’s request for an emergency bailout of Rs22.9 billion, the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) rejected the plea. Furthermore, the ECC turned down PIA’s request to defer payments of Rs1.3 billion per month, which PIA owes to the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) against Federal Excise Duty (FED), as well as Rs0.7 billion per month owed to the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) for embarking charges.
Last month, in a drastic move, the FBR froze 13 of PIA’s bank accounts due to the airline’s failure to pay Rs8 billion in FED.
As the crisis deepens, the future of Pakistan International Airlines hangs precariously in the balance. Urgent financial intervention is imperative to rescue the national flag carrier from the brink of collapse.