An article on PIA's state of affairs in Pakistans leading english newspaper "DAWN" can be found below.
PIA’s Chicago flight to end in September
By Our Staff Reporter
ISLAMABAD, Aug 23: Mounting losses due to eroding customer base forced the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) to stop flights to 11 foreign destinations over the past few months and it is going to discontinue its service to yet another destination, Chicago, next month.
The airline with the fast shrinking international network has also decided to reduce frequencies on four destinations. The airline says it is suffering losses to the tune of Rs1 billion a month.
The destinations PIA discontinued its flights to in the past few months are Houston, Frankfurt, Amsterdam, Rome, Athens, Moscow, London, Nairobi, Urumqi, Singapore and Colombo, while Chicago would be taken off the PIA operation charts from Sept 15.
The destinations that are being operated with reduced frequencies are Paris, Birmingham, New York and Dubai.
Aviation experts see PIA being reduced to a regional carrier.
The decision to scale down operations comes at a time when foreign carriers flying from destinations abandoned by PIA for being commercially unattractive are either seeking increased frequencies or plan to resume their operations to Pakistan. Planned resumption of flights between Karachi-Lahore and Frankfurt by Lufthansa is just one example.
Other airlines planning to resume operations to Pakistan include Air France and the Swiss Airline. British Airlines is increasing its flights to Islamabad and is also considering flights to Karachi. Similarly, Cathay Pacific is increasing the number of its flights to Karachi.
Here is the link to the article: DAWN
Its unfortunate but there is no hiding from it.I have been saying for months on this forum that PIA will most certainly become just a regional carrier for the most part,with just a handful of long haul flights to cities with large Pakistani immigrant populations.(The London mentioned in the article is Stansted)
And no,they are not cutting all these routes because of the lame excuse some supposed PIA experts use on this forum blaming the EU aircraft restrictions.The cause is simply their eroding customer base,highlighted clearly by the article as well.
Who wants to travel an airline with:
1, absurd schedules
2, lack of frequencies
3, inconsistent inflight product
4, no alliance and a hopeless FF program
5, rampant delays
6, No booze (dry airline)....etc...etc...etc
Plus they have their work cut out by relying entirely on a very low yield home market,not exactly easy for an airline with 350 employees/aircraft coupled with hopeless management.
Too add insult to injury (from PK's perspective),their traditional hub KHI is now dominated by carriers from the gulf.With the significant amount of seats offered by the likes of EK,EY,QR and no such issues that plague the home airline-PIA is all but gone from KHI in terms of long haul traffic.The precious few long hauls left are targeted for LHE and ISB.
What this results in eventually is the Rs.1billion loss/month (Equates to $17m/month or $200m/year) and they have been incurring these for all ages now.The Government of Pakistan keeps injecting funds into PK to bail it out otherwise it would not be flying today,thats how dire the financial situation is.At this point in time,the state has too many other things to worry about then PIA.The airline has no choice but to consolidate and reduce its exposure.Hence a reduction in its international network,specially loss making long haul routes,is a matter of certainty.
Personally i have no doubt that PIA will become essentially a regional airline,if it hasnt already.They should sell their B777LR's as they cant utilize them anyway.Even after PK consolidates and is left serving just a handful of long haul routes catering to immigrant Pakistanis in UK and US,the only way they can win is by offering atleast daily frequencies.With B772 in 2-class config as their smallest a/c,that would be simply too much capacity.
What they will absolutely need at that point will be aircraft that are designed for thin and long routes.That means they must invest in B787's very soon as it would allow them to operate daily flights without offering excessive capacity.
I hope PK gets bought out by one of the gulf based airlines,as i feel thats the only hope long term.