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Tuesday July 16, 2024

Several PIA flights cancelled, postponed amid financial crunch

National flag carrier seeks emergency funds to run its operations

By Afzal Nadeem Dogar
September 15, 2023
Pakistan International Airlines (PIA). — AFP/File
Pakistan International Airlines (PIA). — AFP/File 

KARACHI: Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) on Friday cancelled several domestic and international flights as the national flag carrier faces a shortage of funds to run its operations.

Earlier this week, a top official of the national flag carrier told Geo News that flight operations are feared to be suspended by September 15 (today) if emergency funds are not provided.

On August 12, a number of domestic flights to and from Karachi were cancelled due to a shortage of funds and the failure to pay Pakistan State Oil (PSO) for fuel supply.

According to the Jinnah International Airport schedule today, PIA flights from Karachi to Bahawalpur (PK588 and PK589) and Karachi to Lahore (PK302 and PK303) have been called off.

Karachi to Islamabad flight (PK368) has been delayed for three hours while Karachi to Lahore (PK304) is delayed by eight-and-a-half hours.

PIA flights to and from Karachi and Rahim Yar Khan (PK582 and PK583) were cancelled while Karachi to Multan (PK330) and Dubai (PK213) were delayed by two hours.

Other than that, the flight from Islamabad to Karachi (PK301) is cancelled, Islamabad to Riyadh (PK753) is delayed by three hours and Lahore to Karachi (PK305) is delayed by two-and-a-half hours.

PIA's financial woes

On September 7, the PIA had said it grounded five out of its 13 leased aircraft with further prospect of grounding four additional planes due to the prevailing financial crunch.

The PIA had asked for an emergency bailout of Rs22.9 billion which was rejected by the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC).

The ECC also rejected the request for deferment of the payments of Rs1.3 billion per month, which PIA pays to FBR against FED and Rs0.7 billion per month which PIA pays to the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) against embarking charges.

The airline had also warned that Boeing and Airbus might suspend the supply of spare parts by mid-September.

Last month, the Federal Board of Revenue of Pakistan (FBR) froze 13 PIA bank accounts due to non-payment of Rs8 billion in FED.