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KARACHI: Pakistan International Airline (PIA) is going to complete its business plan in three months. This was stated by CEO PIA Air Marshal Arshad Malik during a live session held on the airline's official Facebook page to answer queries of customers and general public on Tuesday.

He said that the airline's business plan was being formulated by IATA on the instructions of the government and it would be completed in three months, adding that PIA was going to induct narrow body aircraft in its fleet and was in the process to return the aircraft ATR 72 aircraft which were acquired many years ago on expensive lease.

Answering queries about in-flight entertainment, he said that PIA would gradually replace its aircraft with newer versions equipped with in-flight entertainment system. During live session on the airline's official Facebook page, there were a lot of queries pertaining to new routes being opened by PIA and resumption of its commercial flights to Saudi Arabia, UAE, UK and Canada.

Taking candid questions live on a variety of topics, he said Gulf and KSA routes were temporarily suspended due to Covid restrictions imposed by these countries for airlines.

He said that the UK government still followed the EU rules as were imposed before Brexit, regular correspondence with UK authority was being held for review; adding that PIA had been certified by EASA and safety certification was valid till 2023, however, the restrictions were now based on audit of airlines' regulator that was CAA- Pakistan but not PIA.

"PIA is making HR restructuring and rationalization and now regular promotions of all departments are being conducted purely on merit. There will be no new recruitments in PIA as per the apex orders," CEO PIA said and added that the Voluntary Separation Scheme (VSS) was announced with complete package and the airline management was also focusing of further improving the training standards and facilities at PIA Training Centre.

He said that the flying academy had been closed as PIA presently did not have the financial support, equipment and aircraft for the flying academy. Moreover, he said that PIA was the only airline operating in Pakistan which operates on social economic routes which other domestic airlines do not operate and the airline was still operating flights to domestic destinations for national cause despite being commercially unviable just to provide easy access and connections from such cities to rest of Pakistan and the world.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021