Pakistan International Airline Haj flight 98 percent on time
.......KARACHI : The massive Haj operation undertaken by the Pakistan International Airlines, with a 98 percent regularity, will be written in the record books as a shining example of hard work and dedication of the employees engaged in an operation of this size and magnitude carried out by any airline anywhere in the world. The operation, which had commenced on January 27, 2001, terminated on April 8, 2001.
.......It was a "smooth and trouble-free job well done". A relaxed and satisfied Sher Afghan Malik, Managing Director, Pakistan International Airlines, described the event as "aviation history," and said: "we will honour the staff and acknowledge their patriotism at a function shortly." Whereas the Haj operation, which normally is not a profit-making venture, had resulted last year in a big loss and was a total flop operationally, this year the airline will be at break-even level, he said.
.......Addressing a Press conference at the PIA head office here on Monday, Sher Afghan said that this year PIA transported about 85,000 Haj pilgrims directly from six domestic stations, viz. Karachi, Islamabad, Lahore, Quetta, Peshawar and Faisalabad and from additional two stations Multan and Sukkur via Karachi. In the post-Haj operation, PIA operated a total of 220 flights and an overall total of 441 flights to serve the pilgrims from eight major cities in the country.
.......The PIA Managing Director gave a pat on the shoulders of a beaming Sikandar Elahi, Director, Customer Services, by describing the work done and results achieved by him and his cohorts as "excellent". "I would like to put on record that none of this would have been possible without the dedication, sincerity and hard work of a motivated PIA team that had been assigned this job. Credit must be given where it is due. They have, indeed, done a wonderful job this year."
.......He claimed that with a record in punctuality in the post-Haj operation, PIA surpassed the records of the past 15 years and more than doubled the previous figures of 42 45 percent punctuality during the years 1999 and 2000 respectively. In fact, this year, PIA achieved a new record, i.e. successfully operating a total of 104 flights ahead of the scheduled time and, in the process, saving about 30 hours.
.......This year's unprecedented efficiency and proficiency could be attributed to a number of factors. Keeping in view some of the problems and hitches PIA had to face last year, the management took certain precautions and steps to rectify the past mistakes. For example, last year the delays were caused at Jeddah airport due to lack of facilities and inaccessibility of 'Bays' to PIA at the right time, shortage of trained staff, staff not well-versed in executing the operational procedures, and lack of counters for speedy dispatch of baggage.
.......The measures adopted this year which, Sher Afghan said, contributed immensely to facilitating the Hujjaj were:
.......--A special Haj operation coordination cell was set up at Jeddah, which looked after the comfort, convenience and interests of Haj pilgrims.
.......--All PIA staff deputed for Haj duty this year were given special in-depth training in the local (Saudi) rules, regulations and procedural matters so as to minimise any glitches at that end.
.......--To enhance passenger convenience and comfort, this year separate check-in facilities at Jeddah airport were specially acquired for Pakistani Hajis in order to avoid congestion and disorder previously experienced due to shortage of space.
.......--Besides the trained PIA staff, following extensive discussions/meetings with PIA's handling agent in Saudi Arabia, UNASCO, PIA was able to take a firm commitment from them that they would provide substantial staff that would, in turn, ensure a high standard of passenger and flight handling. This has helped considerably in maintaining a trouble-free operation this year.
.......--For the speedy and safe delivery of baggage at local airports, PIA had this year inducted an additional 150 new pallets so as to expedite the smooth delivery of baggage, thus reducing the waiting time on arrival at the domestic stations.
.......--Returning Hajis were pleased with the fact that their call time at the camps had been substantially reduced to 12 hours from more than 72 hours as was the norm in the previous years. This was also achieved after extensive discussions/meetings with the authorities in Jeddah.
.......Following the success of this year's Haj operation, PIA intends to further enhance passenger comfort and convenience by making some recommendations to the relevant authorities for further improvement so that future Haj operations continue to facilitate and provide better services to PIA's valued customers.
.......Copyright 2001 Business Recorder (http://www.brecorder.com)
Well, PIA might be poor on serving big routes such as Norway, Frankfurt, etc. but guys, some times, not talking about 12hours delay, planes are just circling around the airport for their turn to land. If PIA is behind three planes, that will delay them about 45min-1 hour or even more. Also, the ground service might sometimes be busy to serve PIA first. It is not pilot's fault or the airline fault because obviously they are not stupid to run on low speed or be late just for the heck of it.