Pakistan International Airline suffering Rs 15 million loss daily: New top brass in a fix to restore healthy state of affairs
.......KARACHI : The new top PIA management, these days, is engaged in a massive exercise to restructure the national carrier which is suffering an appalling Rs 15 million loss daily. The restructuring, it is hoped, may bring at least some relief and arrest the nosedive. Financially Pakistan International Airlines is at present in a state of limbo and is decaying all round. According to a PIA source the new Managing Director, Ahmed Saeed and Chief Operating Officer, Khurshid Anwar, are finding themselves in a difficult situation to restore the airline to its once healthy position.
.......PIA had suffered a net loss of around 3 billion in 2000 and the total liabilities stand at Rs 24 billion. An amount of Rs 2.4 billion was paid to the employees under the golden handshake and mandatory retirement schemes which were introduced by Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Chairman PIA in 1998, thereby hugely straining the airline's finances and from which it has not been able to recover up until now.
.......The restructuring plan, the source said, may see an all round reshuffle, from marketing to engineering, customer relations departments and the closing down of unproductive routes. One of the suggestions, under consideration, which could have considerable bearing in terms of huge foreign exchange savings, is reported to be drastic reduction in the big paraphernalia maintained by PIA at foreign stations.
.......The high rentals and fat salaries paid to the staff at these stations is a big burden on the dwindling earnings of PIA. Several off-line stations could also be closed down and the job handed over to the General Sales Agents. This is one of the options the management may be considering because even at on-line stations very few people go to PIA sales counter to buy tickets. People are generally inclined to utilise the services of travel agents.
.......Khurshid Anwar, who has been brought in as the Chief Operating Officer, undoubtedly carries tons of experience behind him, but he must be pretty uncomfortable with the state of affairs in PIA today. The source added he is working overtime to restore the financial health of PIA and bring visible change in the working of different departments.
.......The previous management had advertised for the posts of Director Marketing, Director Engineering and Director Finance. A good number of applications, from experienced hands in the field, were received in response to these advertisement but for reasons best known to the management no body was inducted in anyone of the positions. Instead, those who had approach proper quarters were elevated to these positions with the result that the downward slide continued and the airline reached a stage where the government was left with no choice but to sack the then Managing Director to salvage the national flag carrier.
.......Chairman, PIA, Lieutenant General Hamid Nawaz Khan (Retd), has reportedly given a three-month deadline to the newly appointed top brass for setting a new direction for the airline and six months for springing a turnaround. The Chairman's desire amounts to asking for the moon. By every reckoning, only if Dame fortune smiles favourably, the required change could be brought about.