Time to downsize PIA – An opportunity within the Challenge. By Ahmad Jawad


(Writer, is Central Secretary Information PTI, and CEO Beyond the Horizon, World’s First Smart Thinking Tank.He believes:”Horizon is visible to most, few can see beyond” . “Breaking News” is Highway but “Breaking Ideas” and “Breaking Future” is my way)

80 percent of the world’s overall fleet has been grounded as a result of coronavirus travel restrictions.

75 airlines around the world have grounded themselves completely. These include heavy hitting airlines like Emirates and Etihad and low-cost like EasyJet. Other top carriers, including Lufthansa, Cathay Pacific, and Singapore Airlines have canceled up to 95 percent of their flights. U.S. carriers aren’t far behind: American Airlines is suspending 80 percent of its domestic flights and 90 percent of its international flights into May; Southwest has parked 50 of its 750 jets; United has cut its April schedule by more than 60 percent and is planning deeper cuts into June; Delta has at least 600 planes grounded so far. Virgin Airlines is the latest addition.

Keeping an aircraft parked can cost up to a whopping $30,000 per plane, depending on the maintenance regimen, according to the Financial Times.

PIA was in loss over Rs 438 Billion in 2018, primarily due to past political influence, which brought PIA at the top of the global list in terms of number of Airlines staff per aircraft.

Employee costs form biggest share in PIA’s expenses. Global website Airfleets Net reports only 32 active aircraft for PIA, translating into an employee to aircraft ratio of 481, which is almost three times higher than Air India (165) and almost four times more than Turkish Airlines (116).
Emirates, with a fleet of 270 aircraft, has employee-plane ratio of 119 to one. For Turkish Airlines, another important regional carrier with 304 planes, it is far lower – at 116 employees per plane.

2-3 times more employees per plane is the real reason behind disaster in PIA. This reason has been well protected by past political regimes in last 50 years and well guarded by PIA Union & illegal PALPA (Pilots Association).

Every challenge offers few opportunities which can be availed with vision, strategy & timely decisions.

It’s the best time to fire at least 1/3 staff of PIA. Merit of firing could be performance, fake degrees, induction against merit & slimming down administrative staff. It’s also the best time to fire all pilots who are part of PALPA & increase number of pilots on contract to meet basic operational need of PIA. This will considerably reduce PIA losses in a very challenging time and will give opportunity of revival soon after Corona crisis is over.

CEO Air Marshal Arshad Malik has a unique opportunity for revival of PIA amid Corona Virus crisis.

Hope judiciary won’t object to a unique opportunity to revive PIA in best interest of nation.