RAWALPINDI: Pakistan International Airlines has cancelled 349 flights over the last two weeks and is managing the flight schedule on a day-to-day basis due to fuel shortage, according to the spokesperson.
The national carrier has been grappling with “the most severe crisis” in its history for two weeks after the Pakistan State Oil (PSO) cut its fuel supply.
Even after two weeks, the crisis is nowhere near resolution — despite the management’s proclamations — as only ten flights, including nine international, were operated on Thursday, the spokesman confirmed without revealing the number of cancelled flights.
The spokesperson said flights were being operated as per the availability of fuel. Only those aircraft are taking off for which fuel could be assured.
Canada, Turkiye, China, Malaysia and Saudi Arabia identified as ‘priority’ destinations
A plan has been chalked out to prioritise flights to Canada, Turkiye, China, Malaysia and Saudi Arabia, the spokesperson added.
The cancellation of flights has left thousands of passengers in distress, as well as PIA employees who have witnessed the airline’s decline for many years. They conceded that the airline’s condition was “never this bad”.
The crisis occurred at a time when the government was looking to expedite the process of privatising the airline as part of a fiscal discipline plan agreed under an IMF bailout in June, according to Reuters.
Meanwhile, PIA Chief Executive Officer Muhammad Amir Hayat has urged employees to stay focused “for ensuring organisational compliance”.
“As we brace for the privatisation of PIACL, amidst these extraordinary times, it calls for all employees to maintain a concerted focus for ensuring organisational compliance through closely knitted teamwork as the foremost priority while staying abreast with contemporary requirements,” said a circular issued by the CEO.
Published in Dawn, October 27th, 2023