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ISLAMABAD: Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) Air Marshal Arshad Malik (retd) on Sunday agreed to enhance the flight operation and increase the facilities for business community and people of Gilgit Baltistan (GB) region for promoting tourism and other sectors.

According to a press release issued by FPCCI here, currently PIA has ongoing operation of 2 flights, which would be increased to 3 flight by March 28 to enhance the connectivity between GB, Air Marshal Arshad Malik (retd) said this in a meeting with delegation of Federation Pakistan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) led by its Chairman Qurban Ali.

Arshad Malik said that promotion of business culture and values, economy, investment, trade, tourism, employment generation, social welfare and people’s connectivity were the common areas of both sides for prosperous and strong Pakistan.

He said that “We want to enhance the cooperation and coordination with the business community and the community should come forward and play their due role in helping PIA for making it more efficient and strong.

In meeting with the FPCCI delegation, he also vowed to start the project of a new runway in Gilgit Airport and construction of new offices and other facilities in GB airport to provide facilities to the passengers and tourists coming from all over the country.

The CEO agreed to further negotiate on discount in passenger fare and other services expenditure by PIA for passengers and business community of GB region.

While in negation on flight operation for ‘devotees’ to Iraq, he said that the operation was banned due to COVID-19 pandemic situation and after the permission by Iraqi authorities, PIA to start flight operation for Iraq.

He said that after starting the operation, PIA would fully facilities the ‘devotees’ and provide them all facilities accordingly.

The CEO of PIA informed that the financial restructuring of Pakistan International Airlines (PIA), a new fleet of aircraft, staff training and new flight destinations were being prioritized to attract the most potential passengers from all over the world.

Malik said that PIA was going through the huge challenges in financial and technological fronts and with the support of the business community and exporters PIA would revive its past glory and come out from all these facing challenges.

He said that during the COVID-19 pandemic situation, PIA was facing big challenges and it was the responsibility of the FPCCI and all over the business community of Pakistan to come forward and play their due role in rescuing the national airline from the current situation.

He also appreciated the role of FPCCI and the business community of GB for development and prosperity of Pakistan and nation building.

He said that PIA will also be provided other incentives, including special discounts and a corporate package for the business community of GB region as “We already provided these facilities to the business community of Afghanistan,”.

Arshad Malik said PIA was the national airline and also Pakistan’s national identity all over the world and “We would support national cause anywhere in Pakistan.

He said that, PIA was driven by the highest standards of corporate governance and social responsibility as a public sector organization and a business leader, PIA believes in building strong relationships with customers, partners, employees, and the communities in which it operates.

He said that having an enhanced exposure to the advanced world, PIA has introduced automation in bringing the latest technology and ideas forward, and sharing the same with other cores of life in the country since its inception in 1955.

Arshad Malik said that a step ahead, PIA has also institutionalized the practice of good governance by establishing a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Committee.

On the occasion Chairman FPCCI, Capital office Islamabad Qurban Ali appreciated the role of PIA administration for improving the institutional system and providing facilities to the passengers.

He said that PIA in leadership of CEO, Arshad Malik has transformed the institution and provided better faculties to the passengers.

Chairman FPCCI said Gilgit Baltistn has tourism potential and PIA can play a huge role for promoting tourism in the region through air connectivity and to provide further more facilities to the people. He also highlighted the different issues facing the business community of GB region and gave a charter of demand to the PIA administer.