“Air accidents are the most unforgiving as they don’t even give you a second to save yourself. And 97 per cent of all air accidents occur due to human error. This is because today’s sophisticated aircraft is not meant to crash due to mechanical problems. It only requires good maintenance and handling by trained personnel and you need  good governance to take care of these two things. But if you can’t even do that then something has to give and a fatal accident occurs such as Pakistan International Airlines [PIA] Flight 268 in Nepal, and Airblue and Bhoja Air crashes in Islamabad,” says PIA’s former Managing Director Arif Ali Khan Abbasi. “It’s inexcusable for a pilot to fly into a cliff like what happened with the PIA Airbus in Nepal killing all of the 167 passengers on board. But to date there has been no investigative report on it published publicly. Unless you tell the world what you have done and what you found out to avoid it in future you will never get the travelling public’s confidence,” he explains.

“Absence of facts gives birth to rumours. Maybe they think that the information is too sensitive to share with the general public but if so it is even more important that the people know about it,” he reasons.

“PIA’s staff was perhaps the most sophisticated manpower but it has now turned complacent due to the grants coming its way.

It started in Musharraf’s time and now the employees feel that they don’t really have to work with the money coming in anyway,” he shares.

He continues, “Corporate identity is a very important thing for a company’s image. PIA’s corporate identity was one of the best in the world. Its aircraft tail was the most prominent one. The bright red Swiss Air tail only came second to our green one. But today, PIA has three or four colour schemes. If one aircraft tail looks like a Jamawar sari, the other is another strange design.

Whoever designed these has no concept of corporate identity, I’m sorry to say. People don’t understand the value of these things. It has killed the pride of this only multinational company directly competing with foreign companies,” the one-time director and three times general manager of the airline says with regret. — Shazia Hasan


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