ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif gave Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) approval to acquire five Boeing 777 aircrafts, as he insisted on a transparent privatisation process for the ailing state enterprise.
Chairing the meeting held at prime minister’s house in Islamabad, Nawaz also gave go ahead to devise strategy to settle PIA legacy loans and empower Board of Directors to run the airline on professional basis with special emphasis towards improvement of service standards.
The meeting was also attended by finance minister Ishaq Dar, Special Assistant to prime minister Shujat Azeem, Secretary Aviation Muhammad Ali Gerdazi, DG Civil Aviation Air Marshal (Rtd.) Muhammad Yousaf and Managing Director PIA Muhammad Junaid Yousaf.
“PIA was our national pride and its efficiency and high quality service were its hallmark. It also set examples for other airlines. It is cause for national embarrassment as its performance has deteriorated at breath-taking pace over the past decade. It is now neither efficient nor profitable. It incurred losses around Rs 183 billion. The poor service delivery and over-employment in PIAC have been grave problems. Perhaps some efforts were made to turn it around in the past, but there has been no improvement in its efficiency or profitability. Pilferage also continues unabated in PIAC,” said prime minister.
The premier further said that the government will not interfere in the privatisation of PIA and would encourage the privatisation to be carried out through competitive and transparent process without preemptive downsising.
Showing confidence on PIA’s Board of Directors, the premier said the government would extend its in full cooperation in streamlining PIA.
Nawaz was informed that the national flag carrier is presently in the process of acquiring 11 A320 aircraft on lease with deliveries starting from June 2014. With Additional 05 Boeing 777 aircraft, PIA will be in a better position to offer enhanced services to its passengers, increase revenue, destinations, flight punctuality and reduced maintenance costs
Nawaz was also briefed about the steps that have been taken to overhaul the PIA to restore its glory. The meeting was informed that out of total 34 aircrafts, 24 are operational.
Further, SOPs adopted to reduce operational costs were dilated upon. Among these, the carrier’s fuel management SOPs were revised to optimise utilisation, helping it save Rs500 million per annum. A further Rs902 million were saved by closing loss making routes.
The meeting was also informed that 330 employees holding fake degrees were fired, while a task force has been constituted to identify more fake degree holders.
Nawaz directed the PIA board members to hire experienced professionals required to run the airline on commercial basis ensuring profitability and the revival of the past glory of the national flag carrier.
It was also decided in the meeting that PIA Board members will discuss airline matters relating to restructuring and revitalisation of PIA on a regular basis with prime minister.