It is expected of PTI to appoint a team of qualified professionals with integrity and experience in commercial aviation to salvage national airline PIA and restore it to at break even, instead of white elephant and a burden on national exchequer it has been reduced to.

The Federal Government must recall that it was combined effort of Rafique Saigol who brought PIA out of the red, restored confidence of its employees and than handed it to AM Retd Nur Khan, who had retired from PAF and understood that it required of him to select a team of professionals. Nur Khan was given assurances by the political government headed by ZAB, that there would be no undue interference in commercial operation of PIA, nor would it be burdened by political cronies. Air Marshall did not bring any team from his former institution.

He appointed qualified professionals well versed in management of commercial aviation, because he understood that he himself was not an expert. Nur Khan ensured that there was zero tolerance for pilferage and indiscipline and appointment and postings were made on merit. During his tenure PIA operation and fleet expanded and it soon became one of leading airline of Asia. It is also a fact that AM resigned when Zia took over and his junta started interference.

This country has witnessed how Shaheen Air, owned by Shaheen Foundation, the welfare organization of PAF failed to run smoothly and was sold to a former retired officer, who held a Canadian passport and ultimately shut down. PIA losses tripled when PPP appointed a corrupt crony who was a serving pilot. Commercial Aviation is a highly regulated industry, subject to both CAA and aviation regulatory agencies of countries where it lands or over flies. One hopes that lessons will be learned and it be understood that commercial transport industry has very little in common with military aviation.

GULL ZAMAN,