ISLAMABAD: A parliamentary panel was informed on Wednesday that the Pakistan International Airlines has no plans to sell the Roosevelt Hotel in New York.

A meeting of the National Assembly Standing Committee on Parliamentary Affairs presided over by its chairperson Dr Shezra Mansab Ali Khan Kharal discussed the abrupt discontinuation of PIA flights to and from New York and other issues related to the national flag carrier.

Mian Tariq Mahmood asked Irfan Elahi, the aviation secretary who is also acting as chairman of PIA, to tell the committee why the New York operation was suspended.

The aviation secretary informed the meeting that the PIA incurred Rs1.5bn losses from New York operation last year and it had been facing losses for the past 10 years or so.

When Mr Mahmood said there were reports that the PIA was going to sell its Roosevelt Hotel in New York, the acting PIA chairman said that there was no such plan.

The meeting expressed annoyance over the poor performance of the national airline and directed its management to improve the situation.

After the meeting, Mr Mahmood said that the committee had directed the PIA management to furnish complete details of the Roosevelt Hotel.

Talking to Dawn, Irfan Elahi said the PIA was unable to compete with its competitors, such as Gulf, Turkish and Qatar airlines. “After closing our New York operations, we are focusing on profit-earning routes, such as Saudi Arabia,” he said, adding that flight operations for China and France would also be improved.

Published in Dawn, November 23rd, 2017

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