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ISLAMABAD: Pakistan International Airline Corporation (PIAC) has generated Rs94.989 billion, down from Rs 147 billion achieved in 2019, the decline in the revenue is attributed to Covid-19 restrictions affecting all of the PIA routes, reducing the overall operations by nearly half.

This was stated by the PIA officials, while briefing a meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on Aviation held under the chairmanship of Senator Hidayat Ullah here on Wednesday.

Besides Ghulam Sarwar Khan, Federal Minister for Aviation the meeting was also attended by Senator Faisal Saleem Rahman, Senator Raza Rabbani, Senator Sherry Rehman, Senator Aon Abbas, Senator Mohsin Aziz, Senator Saleem Mandviwala, Senator Afnan Ullah Khan, and Federal Minister for Aviation Ghulam Sarwar Khan.

Senior official from the Aviation Division and the PIA were also in attendance.

The meeting commenced with a detailed briefing by the PIA on their working and performance.

The officials informed the panel that the PIA has suffered heavy losses of Rs67.4 billion of which Rs32.01 billion were operational losses in 2018owing to no strategic direction and poor service quality.

A National Aviation Policy was revised in 2019 consulting the AVN Division to reformulate the haemorrhaging National Aviation Policy with more balanced NA 2019.

The PIA officials informed the committee that 10 years’ performance audit and statistical analysis was conducted with a comprehensive business plan 2019-2023 with the aim for an operation turnover towards profitability and balance sheet restructuring for addressing legacy debt.

The committee was informed that in 2020the PIA faced financial losses of Rs680 million.

It was informed that in the year 2020 there was a total loss of Rs35.354 billion including burden of legacy debt.

It was also informed that the Covid-19 hit market with nearly 60 percent of operations were halted.

The PIA officials informed the committee that it recovered $412 million from Airbus, which was not perused by the previous governments, adding that the PIA management also successfully resolved a claim of $4.0 million with Air Asia.

The PIA officials apprised the committee that 814 employees appointed on fake credentials were removed from the service, moreover,700 bogus daily wage employees were also traced and removed from services.

The PIA is also simplifying its human resource processes and restructuring through induction of ePIA employees portal.

The PIA has increased tourism-related flights by three times in line with the prime minister’s vision to promote tourism in Pakistan.

The PIA has introduced new local routes to Gilgit from Lahore, Karachi, Faisalabad, Sialkot, and Multan and also launched Air Safari flight in partnership with Shangri-La Hotels for diplomats.

The PIA officials further informed the committee that it is inducting simulator to reduce training cost as an initiative for 2022 and 2023, and also implementing Engineering MRO project, mostly for commercial activities.

The matter regarding a PIA-owned property in New York, was also discussed in the meeting.

The PIA officials requested an in-camera meeting for the same as it was believed that the it has already been misinterpreted and misconceived through the media, however, the PIA officials put it on record that the property has not been taken over neither attached by anyone and the case is under trial, no final decision has been announced as yet.

The committee was informed that the property initially was taken over by the bankers temporarily as it was lagging in financing of the emergent liabilities of Roosevelt Hotel Corporation including payment of local taxes and utilities, “Now all dues are paid and the case is under trial” informed the PIA officials.

Briefing on the matter related to ban imposed on the PIA flights by European Union; the PIA officials said that a delay in lifting the ban is due to delay in the audit.

The ICAA kept pursuing the ICAO to conduct audit at an early timeframe; the ICAO announced the audit in July 2021, which was postponed due to the Covid-19.

The ICAO has announced the new schedule for the audit from 29 November 2021 till 10 December 2021.

The resumption of flights to Europe will take place, after the validation of audit.

The PIA officials said that it is a national agenda and requested the committee to forward recommendations in this regard to the federal government.

The committee also discussed the matter of the PPRA rules, which causes delay in the procurement of aircrafts by the PIA.

The committee was of the view that either PPRA rules may be amended or such a methodology be adopted in consultation to the PPRA in order to avoid any delays in its procurement.

“PIA will never get a plane, if they follow the PPRA rules,” said Senator Mandivawalla, adding that this is not limited to aircrafts only but purchase of engines and cargo also face the same situation.

The PIA officials also requested the panel for revising the socio-economic routes with a proper definition of the socio-economic routes also be explained.

The committee was informed that flights from Peshawar to Lahore have been restored, which are operating twice a week from ongoing month and also the flights from Islamabad to Malaysia have been restored, which were earlier discontinued due to non-payment of lease dues.

The matter of non-implementation of the recommendations of the committee on harassment charges against the then Special Assistant to chief executive officer (CEO) PIA, Kamran Anjum, at workplace with a subordinate lady officer was also taken up.

Senator Sherry Rehman expressed serious reservations on non-implementation of the recommendations of the Senate Standing Committee.

“Nobody can rule over the Parliamentary Recommendations,” said Sherry Rehman, while showing resentment.

“No stay order can be issued on a standing committee orders,” she said, adding, “he has been encouraged to do so by the PIA officials. He should have been court marshalled instead of repatriating him to his parent department. I have six complaints against him and he is still sitting on his post privileged with all the facilities continuing to harass women.”

The PIA officials explained that they are not defending the official; however, he himself has gone to the courts in his defence and obtained a stay order, we are ready to repatriate him back to his parent department, if we get a decision of the Supreme Court in this regard.

Ghulam Sarwar Khan, Federal Minister for Aviation ensured the panel that the recommendations of the committee will be implemented and the official will be repatriated, before the next meeting.

The committee was informed the scrutiny of all available records of 262 pilots took place.

The Federal Cabinet cancelled license of 50 pilots barring seven court cases.

Licenses of 32 pilots were suspended for a period ranging from six to 12 months (barring 11 court cases).

42 pilots violated FDTL, which were dealt in accordance with regulations.

The committee was further informed that the CAA initiated disciplinary proceeding against six employees on charges of facilitating pilots to appear through proxies, conduct of exam on unscheduled date and time, and on public holidays and after office hours. Two employees were under suspension and four were dismissed on the decision of the Federal Cabinet.

The federal cabinet also decided to initiate disciplinary and criminal proceeding against those involved and directed to continue liaison with international stakeholder in order to dispel any apprehensions about Pakistan Licensing Regime.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021


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