Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) Chief Executive Officer, Air Marshal Arshad Mahmood Malik, has said the monthly operational losses of the airlines have been reduced to Rs. 1.5 billion compared to more than Rs. 3 billion before he assumed the charge.
“The reduction in operational losses became possible only due to day and night efforts of PIA team comprising of those officers who have been working at PIA for many years,” he said during an interactive session with members of Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI).
“However, a lot more still needs to be done to deal with PIA’s liabilities as whatever is earned by the airline is mostly spent on debt servicing”, he added
The CEO informed that the airline has a fleet of 31 aircraft, out of which 29 aircraft were made fit and were in the air.
In order to expand its fleet, PIA has leased an aircraft (Airbus 320) from its own resources, which will arrive on November 14 while another aircraft will reach in December. Three to five wide-body aircraft will also be added next year which will facilitate the business community taking direct flights to Canada and London.
“PIA has the potential to grow but unfortunately due to poor policies and management style, the issues being faced by the airline were largely ignored during the last 10 to 12 years, which resulted in overstaffing and excessive liabilities,” he said.
He further stated that all the policies and decisions were dictated in the past but not anymore, as all the decisions are now purely taken by the management keeping in view the business and commercial viability.
“Prime Minister Imran Khan has assured that whatever is recommended by PIA will be prioritized in the larger interest of the country,” he said and added that during a Cabinet meeting, the Prime Minister also categorically stated that any individual found interfering in PIA’s affairs would face strict action.
Referring to PIA’s cargo operation, Malik said only 20% of the available capacity was being airlifted which has now been improved to 80% because of the business community’s cooperation.
“The airline needs support and we will drop our cargo rates as compared to the market rates if people choose to avail PIA’s cargo facility”, he said.
Highlighting PIA’s Hajj Operations 2019, he said that for the very first time, the entire Hajj Operation was solely carried out by PIA in which a total of 83,000 pilgrims were facilitated without leasing any aircraft. Sukkur and Quetta stations were also operational for Hajj Pilgrims this year.
He also directed the concerned PIA Official to make arrangements for signing a Memorandum of Understanding with Karachi Chamber by next Monday for setting up a PIA Office at KCCI’s premises which will provide extra services and facilities to the business community.