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Friday June 21, 2024

Uprise Group enters bid for PIA privatisation

By Israr Khan
May 10, 2024
An aeroplane of the national flag carrier of Pakistan is seen in this photo. — AFP/File
An aeroplane of the national flag carrier of Pakistan is seen in this photo. — AFP/File 

ISLAMABAD: Uprise Group has joined the bid for the privatization of Pakistan International Airlines (PIA), led by seasoned aviation executive Tabassum Pardesi, according to sources within the Privatization Commission.

Pardesi's credentials include founding Skywise Airline in South Africa in 2014, a historic feat that made her the first woman to own an airline. She has since played a pivotal role in shaping the Uprise Group, which encompasses Uprise Markets, Uprise Africa, and Uprise Aviation.

Pardesi's brief tenure as Director of Customer Services at PIA in 2017 ended after just four months due to her dissatisfaction with the management's failure to implement necessary changes, as outlined in her resignation letter.

In her resignation, Pardesi highlighted several recommendations aimed at restoring PIA's reputation and operational efficiency. These recommendations included prioritizing customer services and operational safety, re-evaluating the financial viability of strategies, streamlining organizational structure, defining a clear vision and turnaround strategy, developing a comprehensive fleet plan, seeking financial injection with realistic projections, addressing workplace toxicity, improving internal communication, and leveraging aviation investors' expertise.

The letter available with The News sheds light on the challenges faced within PIA's management and operations, underscoring the need for comprehensive reforms in the aviation sector.Meanwhile, the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) greenlighted the Scheme of Arrangement between Pakistan International Airlines Corporation Limited (PIA) and PIA Holding Company Limited (HoldCo).

Earlier this year, the Federal Cabinet endorsed the legal segregation plan of PIA and the Scheme, directing the Aviation Division, PIA, and HoldCo to carry out the necessary corporate and regulatory actions to implement the Scheme. Last month, the scheme also gained approval from the shareholders and creditors of PIA.

The restructuring involves the legal separation of PIA’s core aviation business from its non-core activities and the transfer of its non-aviation-related business from PIA to HoldCo. The approval of the scheme clears the path for HoldCo to acquire 100 percent shareholding in PIA and the simultaneous issuance and allotment of shares by HoldCo to the qualifying shareholders of PIA.