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ISLAMABAD: Adviser to Prime Minister on Aviation Sardar Mehtab Abbasi has said that the restructuring process of the Pakistan International Airline (PIA) had started and would be completed before its privatisation.

He was talking to reporters during a ceremony held to mark the national carrier’s business transformation journey on Tuesday.

President and Chief Executive Officer Dr Musharaf Rasool Cyan was also present on the occasion.

“Restructuring of the airline has started and it [PIA] is heading towards growth which has given us trust and courage,” Mr Abbasi said, adding that a business plan was given to the government in this regard.

He said that the loss-making airline was now growing due to efforts by the management and other staff members as the number of travellers had increased in January. “The PIA will overcome losses by 2020 and will become a profitable airline,” said Mr Abbasi.

On the occasion, he assured that none of the airline’s employees – though it is already overburdened — will be sacked as arrangements had been made for the training of extra staff for improving services.

Answering a question about the case of misuse of powers by the former CEO, he said that the case was with the Federal Investigation Agency but the management’s priority was to move forward and not waste time over irreverent things.

Mr Abbasi congratulated the newly-inducted cabin crew members and appreciated the PIA management for selecting new faces for the airline.

He said that the new Islamabad International Airport — which was supposed to be inaugurated in March — would be functional by the end of April.

Mr Abbasi said that the PIA engineering division had earned more than a billion rupees in a year’s time by providing ‘A’ check to the aircraft of other airlines, adding that the engineering capability enhancing programme was part of PIA’s five- year business plan to reduce losses.

He said that he inspected the engineering department’s capacity to carry out check ‘A’ of the A320 aircraft at Islamabad airport and then directed the staff to maintain the cleanliness of aircraft cabin and seats. Inspections of Boeing 777 would start in Lahore next month, he added.

In his address, PIA President and CEO, Musharraf Rasool Cyan, said that it was a reality that the PIA was in trouble but hoped that the management would overcome them and move forward in future.

Published in Dawn, March 7th, 2018