THE fact that 19 of PIA’s aircraft have been grounded due to lack of proper maintenance and age becomes all the more disturbing when it is considered that this figure comes to nearly half of the flag carrier’s fleet. Though the airline’s management claims the large number of jets is sitting idle due to “routine maintenance”, there are reasons to be sceptical. As per figures submitted to the Senate, the majority of PIA’s delays have been attributed to the inefficiency of the engineering department. Also, if so many planes are on the ground, it is fair to ask what state those in the air are in. A number of emergency landings of PIA aircraft have been reported recently. Maintenance delays have also been blamed on the purchase and procurement department as key posts in this department are lying vacant. This is ironic: while PIA is severely overstaffed, key departments where staff is required have vacancies.

PIA’s woes can be traced to one basic reason: mismanagement. In truth, all that ails the flag carrier is really all that ails Pakistan. Decades of corruption, lack of vision and inefficiency displayed by those tasked with running the airline have turned a once-exemplary carrier into a liability. If PIA’s management complains that Gulf carriers are ‘poaching’ its customers or that domestic airlines are giving it tough competition, it must remember that aviation is a business. If PIA doesn’t offer passengers punctual flights with a semblance of service at a fair price, fliers will gladly choose other airlines. In theory turning PIA around seems straightforward — stem the massive losses, hire professional managers well-versed in the aviation business, induct younger aircraft and maintain these. Above all, political meddling in PIA’s affairs should end. The airline’s steep descent can be halted if the state has the will to do so.

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Comments (6)

A. Khan
February 26, 2013 3:28 pm
Better to keep the planes grounded then fly and have them crash. Its time that the country swallowed its pride and shut PIA down completely. It could then be resurrected anew as a private corporation but without the political baggage that comes with being a government sponsored employment exchange. No claims could be made against new entity because it is ..er.. a new entity. People could be rehired provided they signed contracts to not indulge in political party support. They should be allowed to have a union, however but one that genuinely looks after the employees and not blackmail the employer. Perhaps instilling some pride in their company and job might do the trick. Ah.. last but not least, any previous PIA employees who were very "politically" active and had links to poltical parties need not apply. Problem solved.
Jawwad
February 26, 2013 11:00 pm
It's been 20 years since I last flew PIA and I rather not fly at all than to fly by PIA, which may not have regard for human life but I do.
khanm
February 26, 2013 8:01 am
if i were the parent of PIA I would have grounded them long long time a go. I don't know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody.
mohsin
February 26, 2013 9:56 am
A board should be made consisting of Ex-PIA Chairmen and they should be given this task to make this national asset profitable.
pathanoo
February 26, 2013 6:49 pm
Why does Pakistan have to have a national air line? Why not let private business take over the airline and run it like a business as the most of the rest of the world does.
Does not matter
February 26, 2013 3:31 pm
Its about time to give PIA to Chinese to run it properly , just like Gawadar.
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