PIA: HOW TO TURN AROUND?
A CHALLENGE FOR NEW MD
Feb 21 - 27, 2011
The national carrier has recently gone through a difficult patch due to a serious rift erupted between management and the PIA employees leading to suspension of over 500 national and international flights.
Contrary to the much-publicized mantra of excellent customer services, thousands of passengers had to suffer painful agonies in the wake of the brawl between PIA management and the employees over a decision of the management to enter into an agreement with the Turkish airline of code sharing.
This was of course a bad example of mismanagement in an organization of international stature. The situation had taken such a bad shape that the government had to intervene and remove the man at the top to bring back normalcy to the national airline.
The new Managing Director PIA, Nadeem Khan Yousufzai has taken the charge of the national airline at a time when the situation is not so conducive in terms of financial performance of the airline. However, the new PIA Chief has come with a strategy for turning around the national airline with a firm resolve to regain glory of the past.
Soon after taking over the charge, he addressed the representatives of PIA employees and vowed that all efforts to be made to make PIA a profitable airline. This cherished goal, he however said, can be achieved with the combined efforts of all employees.
Undaunted of the prevailing competition in the aviation industry, he was confident that the strategy will Insha Allah be successful. He said that PIA management will provide better facilities to the employees of the corporation and employees' performance will be judged on pure merit.
The employees housing scheme will continue, employees to be provided with subsidy in education allowance for their children, car and motorcycle easy instalment loans be provided to employees, marriage allowance to be provided to the needy employees on case to case basis, and employees to get utility credit allowance for utility stores.
Nadeem Khan said the establishment of a PIA foundation is his long time dream through which PIA employees and especially the retired employees will be benefited. The working on this project will be started soon and may involve transfer of some of non-core activities to the PIA Foundation, which will not only generate revenues but will also result in saving for PIA.
Reciprocating to new managing director's gesture of the good will, the Convener of Joint Action Committee of PIA employees & President PALPA, Sohail Baluch also assured his full support and cooperation to the newly appointed managing director. The pilots will also share a portion of their salaries for the betterment of the lower salary staff from group 1 to group IV, President PALPA offered.
The presence of the representatives of Joint Action Committee was a matter of satisfaction for the new management.
Captain TM Rabbani, General Secretary PALPA, Shaukat Jamshed President SAEP (Society of Aircraft Engineers), Zakir Farooq, General Secretary (SAEP) Aziz Suharwardy and Nadeem Afgan, FENA (Flight Engineers Association), Najeeb Khan, President ATAP and Chaudhry Bashir Ahmed, SVP Peoples Unity - CBA, Nasrullah of PIA Cabin Crew Association, Safdar Anjum (Friends Of PIA Alliance), Shamim Akmal, President Air league and Obaidullah, President PIACEU were present on the occasion.
Meanwhile, veteran PIA marketing specialist commits that PIA can be turned around in 2011 provided the government follows his innovative strategies, which will also resolve the current fiasco of joint-venture agreement with Turkish airline.
Proposals sent to ministries of defence, finance and CAA, recommending an innovative roadmap for turnaround which requires dovetailing government's aviation policy and PIA's marketing strategy. Khursheed Anwar, PIA'S former deputy managing director and chief operating officer claims that he was instrumental in turning around the airline thrice: in 1981, 1992 and in 2002. During his tenure as head of marketing, he kept the airline profitable for seventeen years.
These strategies, he claims, have been evolved over a period of thirty years.
It is further claimed that implementation of his vision will ensure long-term viability of PIA and private airline as it will enunciate policy framework and roadmap for future operation of foreign carrier particularly the gulf countries airlines who control a very large share of the market to Europe and Americas through their respective 'Hubs'.
The proposed strategy will remove the stumbling block of dichotomy of views amongst the PIA, CAA and MoD, which has been the main cause of serious mistakes in the grant of traffic rights and abandoning of operation by airlines from U.K. and EU countries.
The cornerstone of this strategy is that this will not require re-negotiations of air services agreement with any other country and re-framed strategy can be implemented immediately thus enabling the Pakistani airlines to improve their market share and create conditions for the western countries to start thinking of resuming their operation to Pakistan.
Another salient feature of this innovative strategy will be that it will be based on concept of open-sky and yet be able to control 6th freedom carriage, control illegal human smuggling through airports and result in foreign exchange savings-all in one package.
This strategy being non-discriminatory will counter arguments for preferential treatment to the national airline. In the event that this innovative and creative strategy is successfully implemented in Pakistan, it will pave the way for other airlines who are facing the dilemma of 6th freedom carriage to/from their countries and bring about new thinking in exchange of traffic-rights.
The Gulf carriers are in the process of ordering more aircraft to expand their network around the world but some countries have started feeling the heat and are refusing to let them increase the Air flight. Recent examples are Canada and Germany and France.
One of the Gulf airlines, which are pursuing its fleet expansion aggressively, is pressuring EU countries for preferential treatment in grant of traffic-rights since they are the biggest buyer of airbus aircraft.
The crux of the problem is the creation of 'hubs' in the one-city sheikdom of gulf where their airlines carry traffic from their network and redistribute the passengers to connecting flights and deprive many airlines of their of their long-haul market share such as between Europe and Australia, far-east and Europe and sub-continent and U.K. and EU countries, thus depriving their national airlines of their genuine market share.