There is a large Pakistani expat community living in USA, with sizable population in Texas, Illinois and the Tri States of New York, Connecticut, New Jersey and the West Coast. In the past PIA flew to Houston, Chicago, Washington and New York. The national airline recently bought expensive, long range B-777 with ‘Business Plan’ based on expansion of Trans Atlantic operations. The PIA management instead of increasing its routes sold very lucrative routes to other countries. When the routes shrunk there were less flights, most of them operating at an average capacity of 69%, which is just enough to be profitable. PIA faces huge problems because of the unchecked pilferage of revenues, kickbacks in procurement and leasing of aircraft, lack of accountability, gross financial misappropriation, mediocrity and posting incompetent and corrupt persons at crucial international hubs, both by successive military and elected civil governments.

If PIA had a competent management with integrity, it would have brought all its teams such as marketing, finance and top management, on the same page and stopped policies which translate into, what constitutes unchecked repetitive commercial suicide. The U-turn taken after building up traffic, all of a sudden at take off point, PIA closed its lucrative routes and by a strange coincidence, some airline in the Gulf estate or Turkey, starts its operation, filling in the deliberate void. What baffles the imagination is that nobody in Islamabad, or the Board Of Directors of PIA has taken note of these practices by some management team, post retirement, these same senior executives end up getting cushy jobs in subsidiaries owned by the airlines based in Gulf. Hajj and Umra pilgrims continued to be fleeced by PIA and few travel agents or tour operators, even after change of government.

Pakistani expatriates in US are shocked when the toll free 1-800-578-6786 has a recording announcing the departure from JFK, New York as 19:00 hrs, instead of the actual flight time which is 21:00 hrs. While PIA has highest employee to aircraft ratio in the world, yet it has curtailed Central Control, manned by Licensed Flight Dispatcher to help co-ordinate and avoid unnecessary diversions, improve fleet utilization and maintain punctuality of schedules. Can somebody explain why PK 721 on April 15, diverted to Washington, when JFK New York Airport was open for all departures and landings?

How can PIA improve if it protects employees who submitted fake degrees, fake birth certificates, fake domiciles at time of recruitment, or are involved in gross financial mismanagement and grave administrative indiscipline? Is someone looking into the matter or will it fester like a wound forever depriving Pakistan of a national airline?


Lahore, April 23.