The PIAC Chairman, Rao Qamar Suleman, spoke on current financial and operational problems faced by PIA and said that fuel cost and cost of financing were eating away a substantial part of the annual revenue of Rs117 billion. - File photo

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf asked the ministry of finance on Wednesday to release $4.5 million to PIA on priority basis so that it could acquire aircraft on lease.

The prime minister further asked the finance ministry to work out a plan for rescheduling of its Rs147 billion loans.

On a request by the PIAC Chairman, Rao Qamar Suleman, the Prime Minister said that the government would consider conversion of a loan of Rs8 billion into equity by the federal government.

The prime minister issued these directives at a meeting during which he assured the PIA management that the government would extend all possible assistance to PIA to ensure that it makes a turn around and regains its status of a national carrier. He appreciated the business plan worked out by PIAC.

Rao Qamar Suleman briefed the prime minister on the salient features of the business plan prepared in line with directions and policy guidelines given by the president and the prime minister.

Mr Suleman spoke on current financial and operational problems faced by PIA and said that fuel cost and cost of financing were eating away a substantial part of the annual revenue of Rs117 billion.

He proposed short term, medium term and long term plans to resolve the problems being faced by PIAC and bring it out of its present difficulties.

Raja Pervez Ashraf expressed the hope that the PIAC management would bring about marked changes in the shortest possible time.

He appreciated the initiative of PIAC to carry intending Haj pilgrims from Iraq, Myanmar, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, enabling them to perform Hajj.

However, he observed that these operations should in no way create any cause of complaints for Hajis traveling from Pakistan.

The briefing was attended among others by federal ministers for defence and finance, deputy chairman of Planning Commission and federal secretaries.

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