The successful negotiations between PIA and Sabre before
entering into an agreement and international recognition of safety standards
provided by the Civil Aviation Authority of Pakistan have sent strong signals
that aviation business in Pakistan is open and offers equal opportunities for
Professionally sound approach being applied by the present
team of PIA management to regain its past glory seems to be well directed
towards the cherished goal. The strict financial and administrative discipline
both on board and ground has started improving the face of the national carrier.
Following the signing of Memorandum of understanding (MoU)
between PIA and Sabre, their representatives met in Dallas on December 17, 18
and 19 where they held extensive negotiations to finalize two agreements.
The first agreement deals with the settlement of outstanding
issues and cancellation of three agreements previously signed in 1998. Under
this agreement, both parties have agreed to withdraw their claims against each
other pending with ICC.
The second agreement called "Services and Data
Processing Agreement" deals with the future relationship between Sabre and
PIA, under which Sabre would provide Data Processing services to PIA from their
Computer Center in Tulsa, USA. The term of the agreement is 7 years and either
party without any penalty can terminate it by giving 12 months notice.
This agreement will allow PIA to upgrade its services in
various areas such as Reservation, Departure Control, Flight Operations, Load
Control etc. For these services, PIA shall pay to Sabre 50 cent per passenger
boarded regardless of number of bookings made or messages exchanged prior to
boarding. Under the agreement, Sabre has also agreed to allow PIA to use its
many other packages available in their system without any license fee but
subject to standard yearly maintenance charge. PIA shall also benefit from
reduced SITA communication charges, available to Sabre being a major user of
their services. Sabre has also agreed to provide 10,000 free man-hours to assist
PIA in implementing the agreement.
As soon as the system is in place, PIA shall start offering
state of the art technology and services to its valued customers. Most of the
problems being faced by customers under the old Reservation and Check-in system
will be eliminated and customers shall start enjoying new services immediately
such as internet booking, seat and meal selection, electronic ticketing and many
other facilities being offered by major airlines of the world. This will be a
big step for PIA to improve its image and to stay at par with other
international carriers. By utilizing Sabre system, PIA will continue to have
access to the latest technologies as and when available without any further
investment, as Sabre shall remain responsible for upgrading and maintenance of
It may be recalled that the former PIA Chairman Shahid Khaqan
Abbasi appointed Sabre Information Technology consultants to PIA. Sabre,
however, left the country without any formal intimation in October 1999 owing to
substantial disputes between the two commercial organizations.
In order to resolve the issue, formal talks were held between
representatives of PIA and Sabre on August 26 and 27 in Karachi last year. The
talks which took place on August 26-27, 2000 were conducted in the manner to be
expected of the two commercial organizations, which paved the way to resolve the
dispute amicably. The representatives of PIA and Sabre discussed their
differences at length and sought in good faith to find a resolution to the
At the home front, both PALPA and FENA have offered their
unconditional support for all round smooth operations, worldwide. The two
representative bodies of PIA pilots and engineers extended their assurance
following and extensive meeting with the PIA management on December 30, 2000.
The meeting proved to be result oriented as the prevailing differences and
misgivings were amicably resolved. Both sides displayed immense goodwill and
mutual understanding to go together in harmony, as has been their tradition in
the past. An agreement was also reached to grant waivers against compensation on
all the waiver flights as per the practice in the past.
Meanwhile, the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has
announced that the Civil Aviation Authority of Pakistan now meets the safety
standards set by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), giving
the country 1 rating.
ICAO, the United Nations' technical agency for aviation,
establishes international standards for aircraft operations and maintenance.
Welcoming the upgrading, a PIA spokesman has said that the
national carrier is now to consider new destinations to America depending on
operational feasibility and commercial viability. PIA used to fly to Washington
and Chicago but its service is at present restricted to New York.