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July 2, 2020

Reform PIA

Newspost

 
July 2, 2020

This refers to the news story, ‘PIA banned from flying to Europe, UK’ (July 1). The decision to disallow PIA flights is in the wake of the dubious licence scam claimed by the government. While the decision has far-reaching implications for PIA, it also provides a window of opportunity to the government and the airline’s management to clean the Augean stable. It provides justification for a fundamental reform and restructuring of the organization that is suffering huge losses and is nearly bankrupt while surviving on government bailout from taxpayers’ money. The following measures must be implemented right away.

First, terminate the services of all PIA employees and rehire those who are competent and meet the job requirement by an independent board. This would weed out about 50 percent of the total workforce that came through the backdoor or had degrees from unrecognized/non-reputable institutions or were given a job via bribe. Second,make new service rules for those rehired including the pilots and engineers keeping in view the job market situation in Pakistan. Excessive emoluments and facilities should be withdrawn. Third, the quota system should be done away with as this has been massively misused and killed the concept of merit in PIA. Airlines around the world secure the best talent while PIA prefers a third division candidate to a first division one, being constrained by the application of the quota system. Fourth, up-scaling of the engineering department is imperative to ensure most of the repair/overhaul work on the aircraft is done in-house to save costs as well as comply with international maintenance standards. Fifth, PIA must remain under Essential Service regulation as long as it is in the public sector. And finally, PALPA must be disbanded for smooth flight operation. The flight ban is a test for the airline management and the government to take hard and tough decisions beyond political sensibilities.

Arif Majeed

Karachi