Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is leaving today, Tuesday, Dec 20, for a three day visit to Bosnia on a PIA Boeing 777 aircraft. Pakistani Foreign Office is silent but media describe that his trip will increase trade with Bosnia, which stands around $1 million at the moment.
Requisitioning Boeing 777, will cause a loss of millions of rupees to PIA, as PIA flights generally carry around 400 passengers per trip. The opportunity cost losses of Boeing-777 airplane, will particularly pinch PIA at the moment, when almost 9 of its ATR are grounded for checking, after the crash of December 7 Islamabad bound flight from Chitral. Another eight aircraft are grounded for other technical reasons. The plane will remain exclusively with the prime minister during his trip.
Currently, PIA only has 21 planes to service its passengers, during this peak travel period with the start of the childrens school holidays, and the rush of Christmas and New Year. Larger planes such as the Boeing 777 are needed for long haul flights especially to Europe and North America.
While, the Prime Minister Sharif generally uses PIA aircraft for his exclusive use, during foreign visits; it is not clear: what is the purpose and necessity of his current visit to Bosnia. The Foreign office has not clarified the purpose of his visit.
Politicians have condemned him for the blatant use of national resources during a period of austerity for PIA.
PM’s use of PIA aircraft for Bosnia visit will cause losses to the airline https://t.co/xPuJVhVzi6
— Nafisa Shah (@ShahNafisa) December 19, 2016
Social media has also questioned his use of plane
Why Nawaz using 777 of PIA causing millions of rs loss. he should go on ATRhttps://t.co/6qwToGXC80
— ZIA (@XIApk) December 19, 2016
Others tongue in cheek referred to yesterday’s event When PIA employees offered a
sacrificial goat before an ATR flight
Has PIA offered goat for this trip https://t.co/Uc7c2rO0nY
Earlier TV channels reported that he would be meeting with the Prime minister and President of Bosnia and that his visit is taking place to increase trade between the two countries that currently is less than $1m.
Officials from the Prime minister office and the Foreign office have not clarified the exact nature of his trip and purpose and the number of people traveling with him. It is to be noted however, in the past official trips have cost the Exchequer millions of Rupees in addition to the opportunity costs of the use of the airplane. Recently social media also extensively shared the 34 lac (close to 33 thousand dollars) lunch bill at Serena of the Prime minister and his team when they traveled to Baluchistan on December 11.
Nawaz Sharif one time lunch in Baluchistan in 34 Lakhs Rs pic.twitter.com/KgEoOotChv
— zohaib shah (@ThanksXabe) December 16, 2016