PIA can turn around... By Asif
11 September, 2012
This refers to a news item regarding rampant corruption in PIA (our sources, August 30, 2012). PIA still has the capability to turn a profit. It is far better equipped than other private airlines. It has a wide range of aircraft, a fleet average age of 15 years, which is better than most Third World countries, overhaul shops and a well-equipped engineering base. On the other hand, private airlines have older aircraft, no overhaul shops and very little ground support equipment. They are dependent upon PIA and other foreign airlines for their heavy maintenance. Despite the above comparatively good infrastructure, PIA is losing money at an unprecedented rate while private airlines are making a profit.
The main reason for this is rampant corruption, cronyism and lack of accountability. The decision-makers have no idea how to run a commercial airline. On top of that, government is a constant source of interference in appointments, promotions, transfers, etc. If the airlines were to be privatised or a professional management were in place, PIA could earn a handsome profit. A turnaround would not only help PIA's balance sheet, it would lessen the burden on the national exchequer, which bails out PIA every year. Emirates is an offspring of PIA, and through sound policies and efficient management it has attained a place amongst the top 10 airlines of the world (which PIA also held in the 1980s).