For the first time in years, Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) has reportedly overcome operational losses following a surge in its revenue in the third quarter of the current fiscal year which ended on March 31.
Adviser to PIA CEO Air Vice Marshal Noor Abbas shared the news during an interview with a local newspaper.
“PIA has achieved breakeven at the operational level. It, however, may take three to four years to report a net profit,” Vice Marshal Noor Abbas said.
The adviser said the revenue increased to Rs. 8-8.5 billion a month during the third quarter (January-March) compared to Rs. 7 billion a month in the corresponding period last year.
“The good news is that our operating cost was slightly lower than the monthly revenue or was almost equal,” he said.
He said that the seat occupancy rate per flight during the period under review increased to around 90%. This remained less than 70% during the same period in 2018.
“There are various factors which led to the financial improvement besides this,” he said.
We have added four planes to the fleet after a repair, reduced the number of employees, decreased the ticket reservation cost increased the load factor of cargo.
Vice Marshal Noor noted that an increase in flights on the profit-making routes and suspension of loss-making routes were also behind this achievement.
The advisor credited the new management of the state-owned airline under Air Marshal Arshad Malik for the phenomenal change.
“PIA is doing well under the five-year business plan, which got an approval of the cabinet very recently.”
The top PIA official revealed that the airline was saving as much as Rs. 1 billion per month from the new ticket reservation software.
According to him, the new reservation software – acquired from a Turkey-based firm Hitit in October 2018 – has reduced the cost to half of what PIA was paying to the US-based firm Saber.
The cost saving has helped improve the airline’s financial situation a lot, he added.