Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) recently announced an exorbitant spending plan to overhaul the airlines’ aircraft. The Economic Coordination Committee (ECC), on top of that, guaranteed an additional Rs 20 billion to meet the redesign expenses. The redesign included replacing the national flag with the Markhor logo on PIA planes.
However, Supreme Court is having none of it as it has temporarily barred PIA from removing the national flag from PIA aircraft.
The apex court issued the directives while hearing the fake degrees case of pilots of several airlines. Rasool Cyan, CEO PIA, was also present at the hearing when the court inquired about the PIA overhaul expenses.
When Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar inquired what was replacing the Pakistani flag on the planes’ tails, PIA Managing Director Musharraf Rasool Cyan replied that the new logo will be of the country’s national animal, Markhor.
In response the Justice Nisar asked the MD, questioning if the national flag-carrier is so profitable that it can splash out funds on these ‘stickers’?
Cyan told the that Rs 2.7 million will be spent on each plane in the PIA fleet for its redesign. CJP Saqib Nisar, in response, added that according to their information the amount stands at Rs 3.4 million. Cyan further told that redesign of one aircraft has been completed and PIA’s engineering department is doing the job. On this, the court directed to stop the process until further notice.
Justice Saqib Nisar remarked that the government has provided Rs 20 billion for the revival of PIA while the airline is using it to repaint the planes. The court directed the CEO to spend the money on improving PIA facilities instead of replacing the national flag with Markhor logo.
He also asked the MD what was his niece doing in PIA, to which the MD said, “None of my relatives are working in PIA.”
Justice Nisar also took the PIA MD to task about the delay in the flight from Karachi to Islamabad on Saturday.
“Please tell me why the flight was delayed for 1.5 hours,” Chief Justice Nisar asked, to which MD said that there was some technical issue with the plane.
The CJP told the MD that he will review his performance. “What qualifications do you have? What work is an economist doing as MD of PIA?”
The hearing of the case has been adjourned until the second week of next month.