Pakistan International Airline (PIA) has been in hot waters due to their poor management of passengers. Scandals like the recent viral video of a woman crying for her infant’s life while on a PIA flight also hurt the national carrier’s reputation. However, in recent times, PIA’s reservation service software for domestic and international flights has become a heavy burden for the airline as it is now considered an unwanted accessory.
Source of Loss of Billions
PIA’s software has become a source of financial loss, according to several sources. A US company provides services for the maintenance of the flight management software ‘Saber’, PIA uses it for the reservation of tickets and boarding services for the last 17 years.
PIA first landed into a contract with ‘Saber’ through Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, former chairman of PIA. During the era of MD Captain Ejaz Haroon, the agreement was renewed for another 10 years while prioritizing the agreement till 2030 via a special clause.
However, PIA fleets have now been reduced to just 32 aircraft, down from 42 and the software had become a needless utility for the airline.
Furthermore, PIA is annually paying for the services the American company never provides. Sources have confirmed that the failure of Saber’s software system is due to small bugs which result in losses worth billions of rupees every few weeks. Just six days ago, yet another flight schedule was affected because of the faults in the software.
PIA wants to end the agreement since the original agreement included handling of estimated 60,000 passengers and 42 aircraft but the fleets have now been reduced to 32 and the passengers have been decreasing drastically day by day. However, there is no clause in the agreement about its termination.
The national airline wants to enter into an agreement with a Turkish company and has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Turkish service providers in 2017 and finalized the agreement in the current year.
However, PIA is unable to get rid of Saber due to the legal binding of the contract. The issue is being looked at in the higher courts. According to many officials, once PIA is free from Saber it will save billions of rupees annually.