ONCE a profitable organisation, PIA today is in a mess. The major reason for this situation is overstaffing and hefty salaries and perks and privileges, particularly for its top officials.
In public sector organisations, when one once gets a job, he stays there forever, and PIA is no exception. PIA too kept on hiring surplus staff to oblige political bosses. In doing so, it has not only multiplied its woes but has brought PIA to the brink of total collapse.
Statistics reveal that with over 700 employees per aircraft, PIA leaves Air India and some other international airlines far behind in the numbers’ game. According to latest reports, Air India, has drastically reduced its aircraft-to-employee ratio from 300 per flight to 108, cutting it down by almost two-thirds in the last two years.
Air India’s reduction is impressive when compared to a ratio of 127 per plane at Lufthansa (38,000 employees: 299 aircraft), 140 at Singapore Airlines (14,000 employees with 100 aircraft) and British Airways 178 employees per aircraft.
Emirates, with a fleet of 212 aircraft, has employee-plane ratio of 220 to one. For Turkish Airlines, another important regional carrier with 236 planes, it is far lower — at 81 employees per plane.
Privatisation seems to be the only viable option to salvage the national carrier. However, it must be ensured that the privatisation process is absolutely transparent.
M. Fazal Elahi
Published in Dawn, February 20th, 2016