Feb 27 - Mar 4, 20

The government is determined to make Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) commercially viable organization by addressing all genuine issues confronted to the national airline. In this connection, a high-powered committee comprised of members of the national assembly representing all major political parties has been formed to look into all pros and cons to achieve the cherished goal.

Syed Sumsam Ali Bukhari, heading a Special Committee of the National Assembly, visited the PIA Head Office in Karachi last week to carry out its preliminary investigations. He has found that besides some genuine issues there are some unfounded stories regarding the national carrier, which were blown out of proportion to create hype.

Sumsam Bukhari said that the special committee in which senior representatives of all major political parties are on the fact-finding exercise specially the reasons behind grounding of aircraft, flight delays, Hajj operations and the state of aircraft in a fleet of 39 planes.

He said that out 39 only 16 aircraft are commercially viable while remaining old ones are adding to overheads the airline, which needs a clear roadmap to become a going concern for which the committee would also measure the financial injection required in the airline to make it genuinely a profit making organization. He made it clear that a loss making organization is not in favor of PIA, government or the people who travel with the airline. Hence, it is in the national interest to make it a going concern with the constructive and positive support from all quarters.

The committee members currently on a two day visit to PIA head office to review the airline's operational and engineering facility to formulate recommendations for addressing the problems faced by the airline. These recommendations will be presented before the National Assembly as soon as the committee completes the probe into issues faced by the national airline.

Replying to a questioner regarding purchase of wide bodies aircraft Boeing 777, the PIA Chief Nadeem Khan Yousafzai said that the slot of five 777 is not of immediate nature and it will be materialize in 2013-14 when the national airline plans to add new destinations. The purchase of aircraft is not like window-shopping and one has to book in advance to meet future needs of the airline and for that matter professionally and technically sound expert's recommendations are needed. It is not a unilateral decision but the relevant people have to develop a consensus before making a decision.

Besides chairman of the committee other members of the parliamentarians present included Sheikh Salahuddin, Ms. Nosheen Saeed, Masood Abbas and Mr. Shahid Khaqan Abbassi. Masood Raza Effendi, Additional Secretary, Iftkhar Ahmed Mir, Joint Secretary Ministry of Defense and Mirza Mohammad Sanaullah, Committee Secretary were also present.

The committee had a daylong discussion at the PIA Board Room regarding PIA Affairs with the Managing Director, Nadeem Khan Yousufzai, Deputy Managing Director, Salim Sayani and other Directors. A detailed briefing on Hajj operations 2011 was given by Director Airport Services while matters concerning employees' of the airline was briefed by Director Human Resource and Administration, Captain Saleem Ahmed.

Later, addressing a press conference, chairman of the committee said that the constitution of the special committee signifies that the government is giving utmost importance for revitalizing the national flag carrier and is greatly concerned about flight delays, grounding of the aircraft and restructuring of the airline. The committee has members from the major political parties and would also seek guidance from technical experts and interview passengers to formulate a comprehensive report which will be submitted before the august house, he added.

He said that the committee had a detailed session with the PIA management and was satisfied on some of the matters explained by the PIA management. However, certain points needed further examination.

The final recommendations of the committee would be for the betterment of the national airline, improvement in passenger services and a comprehensive Hajj operation.

The committee would suggest measures for improvement of PIA's image both inside and outside Pakistan. Besides, the airline needs new aircraft to replace its present fleet with financially viable equipments. The committee will also interview the employees for better employee -management relations and would be acting as a bridge so that both management and employees should work hand in glove for the progress and prosperity of the organization.


PIA's MRO (Maintenance, Repair, and Overhaul) business is now in the expansion phase with an increase in the number of customers from 14 to 40; PIA has earned Rs1.1 billion in the year 2011 through MRO business while the revenue set for the year 2012 is Rs1.4 billion.

Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMS) like Boeing Company, Airbus, and General Electric have shown keen interest in PK-MRO business. This was stated by deputy managing director PIA while he was briefing a delegation from US Embassy in Pakistan at the airline's Head Office.

Recognizing the great potential in PIA's MRO capabilities, the United States Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) has granted PIA Rs58 million (US$864,000) to conduct a thorough feasibility for this business. The joint initiative taken underscores the confidence and trust in PIA's engineering capabilities to create state of the art MRO facility in the region that will generate revenue of US$100 million and around 5,000 jobs in Pakistan by the year 2020. The South Asian and Middle Eastern MRO Markets are expected to grow into US$9 billion market.

Six-member team from Embassy of the United States in Pakistan led by William Martin, Consul General Karachi visited PIA Head Office and PIA's MRO. The US delegation showed keen interest in airline's engineering capabilities including Avionics Overhaul, Base Maintenance Division, Engine Shop Welding, Heat Treatment Shop, APU Test Facility, and Ispahani Hangar where 'D' check of a Boeing 777 was in progress. The delegation also visited Precision Engineering Complex where parts are manufactured for airline industry such as Airbus, Boeing and General Electric. The delegation also visited the flight simulators of Boeing 747, 737 and the latest flight simulator of Boeing 777 recently installed.

PIA's deputy managing director said that PIA's five year business plan is focused on turning cost centers into revenue centers and focused approach will greatly help PIA return to profitability. PIA engineering capabilities and vast infrastructure would serve as a solid foundation for the growth of maintenance, repair, and overhaul business in Pakistan.

The delegation was given a warm welcome Salim Sayani, Maqsood Ahmed, chief engineers and senior officials of the airline. The US team included Richard Albright, Senior Coordinator for Economic Assistance US Embassy Islamabad, Robert Ewing, Chief of Economic Affairs for Pakistan US Embassy Islamabad, Rebecca Seweryn, Economic Officer, US Consulate Karachi, Fahd Zaidi, Economist, US Consulate Karachi and Reid Creedon, Chief of Staff US Embassy Islamabad.

PIA's MRO is in the second phase of expansion to become one stop shop premier MRO service provider in the region by providing value for money, excellent turnaround time, and competitive labor price through total maintenance support of domestic airlines.


PIA has set a revenue target of Rs142.831 billion for the year 2012. The board of directors' meeting was held at Karachi last week.

The board also approved the corporate budget for the financial year 2012 besides approving the marketing plan for 2012-2014. Board was presented flight safety overview during the meeting.

Other matters of strategic and corporate interest were also considered during the meeting chaired by Ch. Ahmed Mukhtar, Minister for Defence and Chairman PIA and attended by Nadeem Khan Yousufzai, Javed Akhtar, Syed Omar Sharif Bokhari, Husain Lawai, Abdul Wajid Rana - Federal Finance Secretary, Khawaja Jalaluddin Roomi and Mrs. Nargis Sethi - Federal Defence Secretary. Air Marshal (Retd) Khalid Choudhry, Director General CAA and Maj. Gen. Raja Muhammad Arif Nazir, Additional Secretary-I, Ministry of Defence also attended the meeting as special invitees.