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KARACHI: A woman employee of the Pakistan International Airlines raises a slogan as she leads her colleagues during a protest here on Wednesday.—AFP KARACHI: A woman employee of the Pakistan International Airlines raises a slogan as she leads her colleagues during a protest here on Wednesday.—AFP

RAWALPINDI: The PIA management has arranged four Boeing 747 jumbo planes to bring back hundreds of Pakistani pilgrims stranded in Jeddah because of cancellation of PIA flights following the strike by its employees.

A spokesman for the PIA said in a statement on Wednesday night that an agreement in this regard had been finalised with Saudi Airlines. The jumbos will fly on Friday and bring 2,000 pilgrims to Karachi and Islamabad.

He said that on their way back to Saudi Arabia the planes would carry the same number of people to Jeddah for Umrah.

The passengers with confirmed PIA tickets were being provided hotel accommodation by the airline in Jeddah as well as in various cities of Pakistan, he added.

As a backup plan, the spokesman said, PIA was also in final stages of negotiations with Etihad Airways and Turkish Airlines to facilitate passengers going to and coming from Europe, America and Canada.

Meanwhile, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has advised the travellers to buy tickets from the offices concerned of airlines to avoid extra payment and rely on the fare mentioned on their websites.

A spokesman for the CAA said that although it was a responsibility of the Competition Commission of Pakistan, the authority had been keeping a check on maintaining normal fare.

Published in Dawn, February 4th, 2016

Comments (26) Closed

Ahmed USA Feb 04, 2016 06:59am

Do NOT privatize PIA including its HOTELS and OTHER properties… In 1980s PIA helped establish Emirates by leasing two of its airplanes along with technical and administrative assistance… Now Emirates Airlines fleet consisted of 219 passenger aircraft, 14 cargo freighters and owns assets worth $33 billion… Whereas PIA has only 38 aircrafts and owns assets worth only $1.5 billion in the books… Within 6 months by restructuring which includes right sizing and performance improvement we can increase the value of PIA at least 4 folds to $6 billion… and by increasing fleet size and signing strategic business partnerships including new profitable routes/ventures the value may go up to $15 billion… No one should “under estimate” Pakistanis resolve to turn things around…

Jehan zeb Feb 04, 2016 08:17am

These striking employees should not be paid for the days that did not work. They have no regard to to their customers. They are so ungrateful that in spite of one billion rupees of the taxpayers money pumped into their coffers to pay their hefty salaries

lA Feb 04, 2016 08:55am

Will privatisation of PIA help revive the ailing carrier? Yes No Yes 68.71% (2,516 votes) No 31.29% (1,146 votes) Total Votes: 3,662

Just wondering what these 1,146 people are thinking. I'm sure these people would never travel through PIA themselves, but just because they don't like the present government they are voting against it. This is sad, we definitely need to privatize it as it is a complete embarrassment for every pakistani at the moment. There is no alternate at all. Take an example of PTCL, most of you wouldn't remember that before its privatization you had to bribe and wait for months to get your telephone connection. Please do appreciate the wise decisions in this country as they dont happen that often.

Kaleem Feb 04, 2016 09:09am

Great step! PIA has less than 40 working planes. Just do agreement with different airlines in world to provide planes and engineering staff. Run the service this way for few months and these protests will die. Sell off PIA in the meanwhile. 49% not 26%.

Khan Lala Feb 04, 2016 10:27am

Hiring charges should be deducted from the salaries and end-of-service benefits of the strikers...

Common Citizen Feb 04, 2016 10:27am

Good decision.. Govt. should kick out every lazy, corrupt person from PIA at least.

furqan Feb 04, 2016 10:36am

such a shame it brings to the nation..!!

Shan Feb 04, 2016 10:39am

PIA should not be privatized instead it should be disbanded and liquidated. AirBlue is doing a good job and can become the state carrier if needed.

Saim Feb 04, 2016 10:46am

What an image PIA is giving to the world, instead of solving issues of national carrier, we have to request others.

Midnight Feb 04, 2016 10:55am

Now may be a good time to liquidate PIA and sell its assets to another airline. That way all the staff of PIA are made redundant and the new buyer starts with a clean slate and none of the employees of this disgraceful airline.

Aftab Feb 04, 2016 10:59am

PIA has good people. Unfortunately a bunch of recruitments without merit is making all good competent people invisible. These good guys are the real assets of our nation.

Mehmood Feb 04, 2016 11:34am

Where is government and CAA to control private airlines regarding charging of extra fair (2 to 3 times) in this situation of crisis for passengers. At the time of issue of licenses to private airlines are the fair conditions was not clearly defined or it was kept open on the will of those airlines to keep looting the passengers in case of emergency.

Kaleem Feb 04, 2016 12:09pm

@Ahmed USA: How you went from $1.5 billion to $6 and then $15 billion? Not possible at all!

Bro, You didnt take into account: 1) Incompetent govts 2) Overstaffed employees. Emirates has 38000 employees for 233 planes, PIA has 19000 employees for 38 planes. It should have been around 5000-6000 if Emirates is taken as standard. With these 13000 excessive employees, Pakistan is paying many billions in excess salaries. Who will fire 13000 employees? Even worse, paying these billions did not make the service better!

yawar Feb 04, 2016 12:18pm

privatize Pakistan Post Office and Pakistan Railways too ... there is no other way to kick corruption, nepotism, cronyism, laziness, etc. out of us

Jaan Bhittani Feb 04, 2016 12:35pm

I hate PIA employees they have ruined PIA.

Riazullah Baig Feb 04, 2016 12:44pm

People working at PIA Central Reservation Karach take Rs.. 3000 to confirm seats to Gilgit, Skardu and Chiral through their touts in Islamabad. And I am sure that is just a tip of the iceberg. Now how can I show sympathies to the employees in presence circumstances when they do such things? There might be some honest people too but what is the use if they cannot stop such practices in their organization? Scrap it for once so that no more tax money is wasted on these parasites who always ask for bailout packages to survive instead of earning for their country.

saleem Feb 04, 2016 12:50pm

Must privatization that is only solution, because govt can not run business, Mr. Z.A. Bhutoo was great leader but he only make mistake to privatization industries that was destroy by Unions and corrupt peoples.

Gerry D'Cunha Feb 04, 2016 12:53pm

PIA is pride of Pakistan!! some incompetent employees who were recruited on political grounds have almost ruined this prestige organisation, they should be be made redundant

Mrs.khalil Feb 04, 2016 12:55pm

Enough is enough , PIA should be privatized as early as possible . Govt . Should not pay the salaries to employees , who are on strike. Salary is paid against the work , they are getting salary for what . Today where PIA stands is just because of these Corrupt and incompetent employees , they burden . They hijacked the whole system

Ebrahim Feb 04, 2016 02:21pm

Well the employees are eating out Government revenues by lack of efficiency and over staffing

Ailly Feb 04, 2016 03:22pm

let this nation suffer for electing such a corrupt govt....

Ailly Feb 04, 2016 03:26pm

@lA .... I am just wondering which prompted you to go against 1146 people who are against privatization of PIA ?.... privatization seems ok but under this govt.... as they are more corrupt than PIA.

Ailly Feb 04, 2016 04:09pm

@Saim - Image ???. that was thrown in Arabian Sea when we elected NS as our PM in 90s.... twice. and now 3rd time again.

Sana Feb 04, 2016 06:19pm

PIA your time is over,delayed flights,unhealthy old saggy meals,high price ticket and poor service on boArd is All over.

imtiaz khan Feb 05, 2016 03:19am

No other way out except to privatize.The overstaffing corruption can would continue if it is not privatize. The hypocrats whose manifestos also include privatisation of these institutions are politicizing.

James_Blonde Feb 05, 2016 04:25am

@Kaleem These arm chair experts have brought PIA to where it is now... bottom of the pit