How it is possible that a politician talks about Pakistan International airlines and does not mention the typical rhetoric that “PIA should take all steps necessary to bring the airline to international standards so that it can regain its past glory.” Newly appointed advisor to Prime Minister on Aviation, Sardar Mehtab Ahmad Khan visited PIACL headquarters in Karachi Tuesday.
Addressing the PIA management, he said that PIA is being supported from taxpayers’ kitty; therefore every possible step should be taken to reduce its losses and improve profitability. Government, he said, has come to the rescue of the national flag carrier many a times and there is a dire need for a concrete solution for the problems being faced by PIA. He sought recommendations from the management for bringing about improvement in all departments of the airline.
Advisor to PM said use of modern technology should be top priority for PIA and maximum funds invested in this area. He said existing systems should be improved, new systems developed and followed to bring about efficiency and productivity in all areas.
During his briefing the CEO Bernd Hildenbrand said that aviation is one of the most dynamic industries in the world and airlines have to keep pace with technological advancements all the time. He said PIA is part of the legacy carriers, some of which disappeared because they did not adapt to the changing environment. He talked about the challenges being faced by PIA and gave a SWOT analysis of the airline. He said PIA plans to add more narrow and wide body aircraft this year. PIA plans to add more destinations in the months to come and increase frequency on existing profitable routes, he said.
The CEO said our goal is to reach a stage of operational breakeven as soon as possible. He said the biggest challenge being faced by PIA is the repayment of legacy loans. The Advisor to PM was also informed about how PIA’s domestic market share increased by 19% and international by 3% during this period.
Sardar Mehtab Abbasi is close to PM and has served as the governor Khyber Pakhtunkhwa from 2014 to 2016. In the past he has served a chief minister of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa from 1997 to 1999. He also served as federal minister for railways in 2008 and as a senator for PMLN since 2003. In 2008 general elections he won a seat for national assembly and is dubbed as the leading man for PMLN in next general election.