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A strategic business plan for the revival of Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) will be submitted to the Prime Minister in March, revealed Chief Executive Officer PIA Air Marshal Arshad Malik (retd) at a joint press conference on Tuesday. Minister for Privatisation and Aviation Division, Mian Muhammad Soomro and Special Assistant to the Prime Minister Iftikhar Durrani were also present on the occasion.
Arshad Malik said that a short-term plan would ensure smooth functioning of PIA while in the long run PIA would be revived on a sustainable basis over the next three to five years.
The PIA, he said, is utilising PAF''s support to turn around the fortunes of the national flag carrier. He said that PIA is a national asset but regrettably the organisation suffered losses due to flawed policies in the past.
He further revealed that PIA is currently suffering an operational loss of Rs 3 billion per month. "We have removed 200 ghost employees drawing salaries up to Rs 70,000 per month and action has also been taken against fake degree holders as per the directions of the Supreme Court," he said.
He said that the PIA is paying charges to Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) in dollars and outstanding dues against PIA have swelled to Rs 431 billion.
He said that PIA has started a plan to revive its guesthouses in Amsterdam, Tehran, Mumbai, Agra and New York and more would be revived with the assistance of the Foreign Office.
Malik said in the first phase, they have closed down seven loss making routes which were causing a loss of Rs 500 million monthly.
He said PIA had seven loss-making routes and his first priority was to get rid of such routes while in the next phase, more remedial steps would be taken to revive the airline on a permanent basis.
He said that the management has decided to suspend its flights on loss-making routes. In this respect, he said that it has been decided to suspend the flight to Tokyo next month due to heavy losses of Rs 300 million per month.
He said, "We have introduced some profit-making routes and more will be introduced by 15th of next month."
He maintained that Hajj operations are expected to start in three to four months which will be a difficult time for PIA, adding the management would induct six additional planes to meet the needs of pilgrims. He said under the short-term plan, it is PIA''s effort to carry out the Hajj operation in the best possible manner.
He further said that the management has asked for an international audit of the airline as no compromise would be made on safety measures. Corruption cases and other matters of mismanagement of PIA are under investigation by National Accountability Bureau (NAB), he added.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2019

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