Govt to Sell Off PIA Before Elections

Already being in the list of the government’s privatisation programme – Pakistan International Airlines (PIA), according to the minister Daniyal Aziz, will be privatized before this year’s general elections.

PIA has seen it’s worst year yet in 2017, with a number of episodes – drug smuggling cases, poor financial performance, strangely missing aircrafts and more – dominating the headlines.

The state-owned airline has been in the list of high priority businesses that are being planned to be sold to a private entity as soon as possible owing to its failure to operate as a going concern.

Emphasizing the importance of this development, Daniyal Aziz said that his new plan to privatize PIA will be presented directly to the Prime Minister, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi who will oversee the respective cabinet.

“Next step would be going to the cabinet committee – and that’s imminent, maybe even next week.” – Daniyal Aziz

The Pakistan International Airline Company (PIAC) holds several other businesses such as catering and hotels. These businesses will be separated and only the core operation i.e. the airline, will be sold to a private bidder.

Buyers Invited

Aziz further added that to complete the process, a legislation launched back in 2016 has to be reversed. This legislation prevents the PIA from becoming a limited company, thereby preventing the organisation from being handed over to another entity by the government. Without stating the demanded price, Daniyal Aziz emphasized,

[The PIA will be available to purchase] tomorrow morning. If you have the money, come and buy it.

Accordingly, due to the time limits because of the upcoming elections, the government will only sell one company per sector for now, the top contenders being the PIA and the Pakistan Steel Mills.

We will get runs on the board, but the real challenge is to bring to fruition the two big animals: one is PIA and the other one is Steel Mills.

Emirates and Etihaad – the Potential Investors

The minister also revealed that the renowned Emirates and Etihad Airways were interested in investing and buying a substantial shareholding in the PIA.

However, protesting parties and heated opposition caused the government to overlook the offer.

The Privatization Commission found potential strategic buyers for two top loss-making state-owned entities; PIA and Pakistan Steel Mills. Emirates and Etihad Airways were showing great interest in PIA.

With a total debt of 186 billion rupees, the PIA is consistently recording huge losses (up to $30 million each month). Due to its loss-making nature, the privatization minister is keen on selling it off before the elections. It will be available for purchase soon and the bid price is yet to be revealed.


  • They (n-Govt) should pay attention to under development projects … like Green Bus Line (Khi), which is paused due to non-payment to workers.

    • Really now.

      So first, they purposely support private airlines like Shaheen and Air Blue, making PIA look like the lowest of all. PIA was one of the leading air liner back in early days of Pakistan. So what went wrong?

      Corrupt leaders. That’s what.

      The long time practice of giving ‘mamma chacha and salas’ influential positions in such companies is the primary reason PIA is going downhill fast. Even now, mis using of PIA’s property, even selling it off as junk is seen as normal practice.

      But that’s not the worst part. The worst part is the people. These lowest sums called Pakistanis (myself included, sadly) never raise their voice on ‘real’ issues. Instead they still want corrupt leaders who will sell this country for their personal gain. And this is EXACTLY what they are doing with PIA.

      Privatization is need of the hour because they made it sure it happens at the end.

      • Very well said, we will be watching the loot khasoot as we are doing it since, seems like we accept it cordially. This corruption does not bother us any more and we are ready to vote in every election with same zeal and zest to impose them on ourselves again and again.

      • I know all this. Back in the day, PIA used to be great and the cabin crew of Emirates Airlines were trained by PIA. But then everything went wrong. Now at present, we have no other solution than to privatize PIA. It’s sad, isn’t it ?

  • This is fake news. Neither Etihad nor Emirates is interested in buying PIA. Etihad has already lost millions in its stake purchase or Al-Italia and Air Berlin both of which are facing bankruptcy as Etihad is no longer financing them. The removal of Etihad CEO is quiet evident not to mention global scale down of its employees, closure of Etihad Sales office in Pakistan (read Layoffs). Etihad is now working with extremely limited (and over worked) staff.

    Emirates on the other hand is just too sly for being a PIA buyer. Keeping in view the amount of political involvement, interference in PIA it will keep away from deal as it will not be interested in day to day coercive tactics of Pakistani Bureaucracy. Emirates is well known for not taking such pressures. Please review the Sri Lankan – Emirates deal and why the deal was no longer extended after Emirates refused to provide seats for Sri Lanka’s President’s entourage. They did however provide Mr. Rajapaksa (the Sri Lankan President) with a seat.

    A note for Propakistani editors and sub editors: Please refrain from posting speculative news items (read unverified and baseless) . Tribune has already lost me as reader and you are next.


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