PIA Hints at Layoffs, New Recruitments

Pakistan International Airline is working on a plan to right-size the organization, we have checked. While the numbers are not known yet, it is likely that PIA will layoff sizable number of employees to right-size the organization.

During this, to fill some slots with more capable work force, new recruitments — especially for pilots, flight attendants and cabin crew — are also expected.

Danyal Gillani, spokesperson for PIA, in a tweet, confirmed the news by saying “Rightsizing is desperately needed in PIA”.

PIA spokesperson said that administration is in process of reviewing the number of employees required for the fleet, however, nothing has been decided so far.

He further said that PIA is ideally going to appoint the most well suited personnel for certain functions and position, for which, it may recruit new staff while letting go the old employees.

PIA, just for the record, has currently 14,317 full time employees for a fleet of 38 planes. This number, which is ridiculously high for an airline like PIA, is lower than the 18,368 employees PIA had in 2007-08.

Not to be mentioned, PIA doesn’t outsource any of the operations and employs in-house solution for everything including kitchen to baggage handling. While many airlines in the world outsource such operations, it is only now that PIA is considering such options to become a more viable business.

For reference, below is the HR trend for Pakistan International Airlines:

Year
PIA Employees
2007-08
18,368
2008-09
18,016
2009-10
17,645
2010-11
17,645
2011-12
17,410
2012-13
16,563
2013-14
15,700
2014-15
14,703
2015-16
14,317

PIA HR Strength

To give more insight on how PIA employees are ranked, check below table:

Pay Group
No. of Employees
Special
18
X
54
IX
159
CC
497
VIII
983
VII
674
VI
2416
V
1504
IV
5120
III
2083
II
597
I
23
Local employees at foreign stations
189
Grand total
14317

PIA Fleet

While it may not make sense for many, but fact remains as that 14,317 employees work with a total fleet of 38 aircraft. With below details:

  • Total Aircraft = 38
  • Average Age = 11 years
  • Employee to Aircraft ratio = 376
  • Air Craft Types:
    • Air Bus A320
      • No. of Aircraft = 11
      • Average years = 10 years
      • Ownership = Dry leased
    •  Boeing 777
      • No. of Aircraft = 11
      • Average years = 10 years
      • Ownership = 8 owned, 3 Dry leased
    •  Airbus A310
      • No. of Aircraft = 5
      • Average years = 23 years
      • Ownership = Owned
    • ATR 42
      • No. of Aircraft = 6
      • Average years = 9 years
      • Ownership = Owned
    • ATR 72
      • No. of Aircraft = 5
      • Average years = 4 years
      • Ownership = Dry leased

PIA CEO has said that airline is aiming to increase number of aircraft to 42 during the current financial year and 60 by 2020.

PIA in a Revival Mode

As you might had seen our recent coverage, PIA is all geared up to revive its lost glory. For the purpose, numerous initiatives — like starting PIA Premier, possible induction of 787s, 777s, renovation of current 777s and more — have been started and outlook for PIA has been good so far.

During first half of 2016, PIA achieved below indicators to show that the national airline is indeed working to improve its services:

  • Domestic Market Share has increased from 42% to 65% during the period Jan-May as compared to last year
  • Record Umrah sales
  • 34 Special prorate Agreements with Major Airlines have been finalized
  • Existing code share
    • EY: Etihad Airways
    • TK: Turkish Airlines
    • TG: Thai Airways
    • CZ: China Southern Airlines
  •  Poor performring aircraft are being called back

Possible Privatization?

Government of Pakistan tried to privatize PIA earlier this year, however, the decision faced a huge backlash as countrywide strikes and shut-downs jammed the entire company, leaving no option for government but to back off.

While we don’t have confirmations on this, it appears that government has decided to privatize PIA in a more systematic manner this time. They are not only working on image building, but also getting rid of long-running employees who have become a bane for the company.

Bernd Hildenbrand, CEO of PIA, in a recent interview said that his company is working on increasing the revenues regardless of whether PIA is to be privatized or not.

Whatever the case is, rightsizing is a must for PIA now but we aren’t entirely sure if the process will go as smooth as the management is hoping for.

Tech reporter with over 10 years of experience, founder of ProPakistani.PK


  • It is true there is huge over staffing in PIA who were appointed on political basis, favoritism and on some special relations during the regime of PPP. As the N leaguecame government, it started to down size the staff, the employees of pia their union strongly resisted and observed a long strike. the government temporarily postpone the downsizing. now again government has started the downsizing of staff in the name of right sizing. i think it is not good way to oust the employees but they should be offered lucrative handshake scheme so that all employees who are willing and want to get handshake should be given, or the second thing government should increase the number of planes so that all employees which are higher aircraft ratio will decrease the ratio gradually and by passage of time employees have been getting retirement on reaching 60 years of age, so one day the ratio of employees will be on what the government has the required of employees.


  • close
    >