KARACHI: Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) Chief Executive Officer Air Marshal Arshad Mahmood Malik has said that the airline’s monthly operational losses have been reduced to Rs1.5 billion from Rs3 billion (when he assumed the charge).
“The reduction in operational losses became possible only because of the untiring efforts of the PIA team, comprising of those officers who have been working at PIA for the past many years. However, a lot more still needs to be done to deal with PIA’s liabilities as whatever is being earned by the airline is mostly spent on debt servicing,” he stated during his visit to the Karachi Chamber of Commerce & Industry (KCCI) on Tuesday.
Businessmen Group (BMG) Chairman and former KCCI president Siraj Kassam Teli, BMG General Secretary AQ Khalil, KCCI President Agha Shahab Ahmed Khan, Senior Vice President Arshad Islam, Vice President Shahid Ismail, and former presidents Haroon Agar, Shamim Ahmed Firpo and Junaid Makda were also present on the occasion.
The PIA chief informed the meeting that the airline has a fleet of 31 aircraft, of which 23 aircraft were able to fly. “But now, due to the dedicated efforts of PIA’s engineering team, 29 aircraft are in the air while only two aircraft are on the ground.”
In order to expand the existing fleet, he informed that PIA has leased an aircraft (A-320) from its own resources, which would land on November 14. Another aircraft would arrive in December this year while three to five wide-body aircraft would also be added by next year to facilitate the business community, he added.
He believed that the national flag carrier has the potential to grow but unfortunately, due to poor policies and management style of the past, the issues being faced by the airline were largely ignored, resulting in overstaffing and excessive liabilities.
“All the policies and decisions were ‘dictated’ in the past but not anymore. The decisions are now purely taken by the management keeping in view the business and commercial viability,” he affirmed. “Prime Minister Imran Khan has assured that whatever is recommended by PIA will be prioritised in the larger interest of the country.
He further informed that during a cabinet meeting, the prime minister had categorically stated that any individual found in interfering in PIA’s affairs would face strict action.
Referring to PIA’s cargo operation, he said that only 20pc of the available capacity was being airlifted which has now been improved to 80pc owing to the business community’s cooperation.
“The airline needs support and we will drop our cargo rates as compared to market rates if people choose to avail PIA’s cargo facility,” he added.
Highlighting PIA’s Hajj operations 2019, he said that it was for the very first time that the entire Hajj operation was solely carried out by PIA in which a total of 83,000 pilgrims were facilitated without leasing any aircraft as practiced in the past.
He directed the concerned PIA official to make arrangements for signing a memorandum of understanding with KCCI by next Monday for setting up a PIA Office at KCCI premises.