Time up for PIA

Published November 22, 2023

ACCORDING to the Privatisation Commission, Rs500 million is the daily loss on running state-owned Pakistan International Airlines (PIA), which means Rs180 billion every year. The commission has asked the government to step up and make a decision regarding the future of PIA. I agree that it is now time to make a decision. The airline is clearly in dire financial straits, and it is not sustainable to continue operating it at such a loss.

There are two main options: privati-sation or closure. Privatisation would involve selling PIA to a private investor. This would allow the airline to access fresh capital and expertise, which could help in turning it around.

However, there are some risks that are associated with privatisation, such as the possibility that the new owner may opt for cutting jobs or reducing services.

On the other hand, closure would involve winding down PIA’s operations and selling off its assets. This would be a drastic step, but it may be necessary if the airline cannot be turned around.

Ultimately, the decision of whether to privatise or close PIA is a complex one that needs to be made carefully. However, it is clear that the airline’s current situation is unsustainable, and action needs to be taken.

There are some factors the government should consider when making its decision. It should consider the potential impact on passengers and employees, and the financial implications for the government and the taxpayer. It should also assess the impact on the aviation sector in Pakistan and the strategic importance of PIA to the country.

The government should also consult the stakeholders, such as PIA employees, unions, and industry groups, to get their input on the best way forward. Once the government reaches a conclusion, and is able to take a decision, it should develop a clear plan for implementing it. This plan should include a timeline for the privatisation or closure process, as well as measures to mitigate any negative impacts.

S.M. Arif
Karach
i

Published in Dawn, November 22th, 2023

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