KARACHI: The Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) on Thursday said Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) is an asset, country’s pride and its flag carrier which shouldn’t be closed down under any circumstances.
Many leading airlines are offspring of the PIA, once placed amongst the top ten airliners of the world, it is now wasting around Rs3 billion per month which cannot be accepted, said President FPCCI Malik Zubair Ahmed.
Expressing concern over proposal to shut down PIA, he said that this is not the solution, bringing it back to profit needs simple steps like containing overstaffing, corruption, favouritism, political interference, mismanagement and introducing proper accountability system.
The FPCCI chief said that a professional management can swing PIA to profit by reopening profitable routes, grabbing the revenue worth Rs60 billion taken away by competitors, and luring millions of expats through improved service and cutting costs creeping beyond global industry standards.
PIA can also focus on downsizing and paying attention to the domestic market from where it gets half of its revenues, he added.
Zubair Ahmed Malik said that providing bailout packages without a solid revival plan amounts to wasting taxpayers’ money in an airline whose fuel cost has touched undesirable limit of 55 per cent of the revenue against 25-30 per cent accepted limits.
With 20 thousand employees, we have world’s most surplus employee-to aircraft-ratio standing at 570 against 120 which is a reason behind crumbling institution providing travel facilities to five million people annually. Increasing the number of aircraft can balance the ratio if reducing staff isn’t an option at this point.
PIA balance sheet for the year ended in Dec 31, 2012 shows after tax loss at Rs32 billion, up from Rs27 billion loss the earlier year. Its net revenue declined to Rs125 billion 2012, from Rs127 billion in 2011 while management cost surged by Rs1 billion because of the management hired on political considerations.
Locally-operated private airlines which are dependent on PIA for their maintenance are making profit while PIA with good infrastructure is losing money at an unprecedented rate which is amazing, he observed.
The government should go ahead with the reforms or induct honest businessmen on airline’s board to make it profitable, he said, adding that selling it through transparent process will work but closing it down in not appropriate, said Zubair. NNI