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June 20, 2012

Can we emulate EA for a turnaround in PIA?


June 20, 2012

A top Pakistani professional in aviation sector, Khursheed Anwar, currently holding the office of Chief Executive Officer of Eritrean Airlines (EA), made a visit to Pakistan for reviewing and studying prospects of increasing Eritrean Airlines flights in Pakistan.
Anwar was appointed CEO of the EA, which is the national airline of the state of Eritrea, held the offices of CEO and Deputy Managing Director PIA as well as Managing Director of two private airlines.
Presently, the EA has been revived by Aviation Management Consultant Group (AMC), a Pakistani based aviation management company which has majority of employees from Pakistani aviation professionals.
“I took over EA last month, and I am working hard to promote the EA along with other Pakistani,” said Anwar. He was talking to The News on Monday.
Eritrean Airlines already operates services to Karachi, Lahore, Dubai, Jeddah, Khartoum, Rome, Cairo and Frankfurt through its home base Asmara. The airline operates latest A320, A319 and Boeing 767 Aircraft. True to its slogan of gateway to Africa, the airline will soon expand its network to Nigeria, Chad, and other central African countries. The aircrafts are maintained according to European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) approved maintenance standards.
Before joining EA, Khursheed Anwer did submit the business plan for the revival of the EA in 2011 and is now managing its operations successfully for further expansion. He was also the professional who had originally also prepared the feasibility study of Emirates in 1985 – The airlines which now sets the standards for airlines all over the world.
In a frank chat, soft-spoken Anwer was asked about PIA’s prospects of becoming viable in the near future with former Air Force Chief Rao Qamar Suleman running the national flag carrier solely after his appointment first as Managing Director and then as Chairman PIA.
He informed that he had given an innovative proposal to the PIA new chief for

the revival of the airline for which he claims that due to his vision and strategy the airline can be put back on track within 6 months. However because of his assignment abroad he has not been able to discuss his proposal with the PIA chairman and managing Director.
Anwar said he proposed this plan at a time when PIA’s accumulated losses run to Rs118 billion (by end-December last year) and he called it an “Innovative Formula for PIA Turnaround.”
According to his innovative formula which is based on (out of box thinking), the country needs a complete revision of government aviation policy which needs to be dove-tailed with the complete restructuring of PIA operation and this can be achieved within a period of 6 to 12 months.
Anwar said apart from this innovative policy PIA hardly has a chance of becoming viable even for years to come.
The policy, according to him, will not require any new negotiations with other countries for review of traffic rights given to foreign carriers that are caring Pakistan’s long-haul traffic to Europe, UK, and Americas through their hubs in the Gulf countries.
In his first 60 days period in office, PIA MD and Chairman Rao Qamar Suleman spent first 30 days in settling his power-game with the ousted Defence Minister Ch Ahmed Mukhtar, who was shown the door of the Defence Ministry only to appoint him as water and power minister.
During this period, Rao Qamar Suleman did not attend any PIA Board of Directors meeting until he was given the charge as Chairman PIA as well.
Now, after assuming absolute powers in the PIA, Rao’s steps are being carefully watched. “He has made some changes which fail to inspire PIA high ups and the employees, besides constituting a think-tank comprising young students of top institutions in the country,” said a senior official, who believed that both these steps would prove counter-productive and would not bode well.
“These steps speak volumes for incompetency on the part of Rao Qamar Suleman, as rather then inviting experienced people to form a think-tank he has tried to take eye-wash type steps,” said the official.
Recently, in a surprise move the PIA Director Corporate Services invited bids by giving an advertisement in a Karachi-based Urdu daily (that too on inside pages) for buying 10 aircraft on dry lease.
The PIA wanted from interested parties for dry lease four Boeing 737-400, four Boeing 737-800 and two Boeing 777.
“It looks all with a lot of suspicion in the top circles that the PIA management has initiated a move in a somewhat dubious style,” said one senior official.
With Mushahid Hussain Syed elected as Chairman Senate Committee on Defence and Defence Production recently and promised to look into PIA affairs, this is the one move of the PIA management which needs immediate attention of the Mushahid-headed Committee before it is too late.

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