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SC rejects PIA plea for hiring 200 staffers

By Our Correspondent
December 17, 2022

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Friday rejected the plea of Pakistan International Airlines, seeking permission to recruit 200 employees, including 80 pilots.

During the hearing, a three-judge bench of the Supreme Court, led by Justice Ijazul Ahsen, questioned how the national flag carrier would manage the recruits’ salaries.

The court sought details about the business plan, revenue generation, and routes of planes on the next date of the hearing.

Salman Akram Raja, counsel for PIA, appeared before the court and sought permission for more recruitment, stating that the airlines wanted to purchase five more airplanes.

He submitted that the airline could not make further recruitments without the permission of the apex court, as the court had put an embargo on hiring in 2018.

He said that the apex court had allowed the recruitment for Hajj operations in 2019.

However, Justice Mazahir Ali Akbar Naqvi said that the PIA routes to Europe, the US, and Canada had already been closed while people were least bothered to travel domestically on the national flag carrier.

Justice Ijaz ul Ahsen questioned why the national flag carrier is recruiting 80 pilots despite only having 30 planes.

In response to the court’s query, the chief financial officer of PIA submitted that 34 out of 370 pilots at the airline had resigned. Furthermore, PIA earned Rs 154 billion in the first 11 months of the year and had borne all operational expenses.

He submitted that PIA has 20 aircraft, 10 of which are on the lease, and seven are currently involved in international operations.

Justice Ijaz ul Ahsen said that the airline was barely covering its expenses and wondered how it would cover the costs of additional planes.

The court sought a comprehensive report about plane routes, the business plan, and revenue generation before adjourning the hearing until the first week of 2023.