Reviving PIA a tough challenge: CEO

News Desk

On his first visit to FCCI (Faisalabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry) on Monday the chairman and Chief Executive Officer of PIA Air Marshal Arshad Mehmood Malik said that revival of PIA is a tough task as compared to launching a new airline.

He revealed that a short-term plan would ensure smooth functioning of the air carrier while in the long run PIA would be revived on a sustainable basis in the next three to five years.

The chairman said getting rid of seven loss-making routes was his first priority. He said three direct flights from Faisalabad to Jeddah would be introduced from Feb 15. He said two different teams would visit Faisalabad next week to review the expansion of the runway and to evaluate local cargo potential.

Malik, who is part of the Pakistan Air Force (PAF), said he was utilising PAF’s support to turn around the national flag carrier’s fortunes.

The Chairman revealed that PIA was currently suffering a loss of Rs. 3 billion per month. “It has 32 aircraft, of which only six are generating revenue; nine planes, which are in working condition, have been abandoned for the last nine months due to unknown reasons,” he said.

Previously he visited Turkey to review how Turkish Airlines was revived and he also studied the Qatar Airlines model and planned to visit Malaysia and other countries to analyze and discuss revival plans for their national flag carriers.

He said 18,000 workers were on the airline payroll and the number was high compared to international standards and they could be utilized by getting more airplanes for future operations.

As Hajj operations were expected to start in the next three to four months, Malik called it a very difficult time for PIA, which was going to get six additional planes to meet the needs of the pilgrims. Regarding a landing facility during dense fog, Malik said the system was available onlyat the Lahore airport, which was gifted by Qatar.

He said that he would address a press conference in Islamabad on Tuesday to share more statistics about the present situation of PIA.

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