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August 12, 2020

PIA's decline

Newspost

 
August 12, 2020

PIA, once an airline that was pride of Pakistan, has been driven to insolvency, presently facing a complete ban by EASA for the second time after 2007. The Safety Management System, an essential prerequisite for EASA does not seem to be a priority for those at the helm since 2000 onwards. Nur Khan’s resignation, following interference by the Zia junta, started the erosion of PIA's human resources. PIA’s first major corruption scam surfaced when new DC10 were sold in exchange for the aged B747-200. Unfortunately, the regulator, whose primary function was ensuring all airline operators strictly followed ICAO flight safety standards, itself was subjected to human resource erosion and reduced to a dumping ground for uniformed and political cronies.

Then we saw the appointment of controversial individuals (most of whom never went to any university, with a history of administrative and financial indiscipline), at the helm in overstaffed PIA and CAA, and witnessed large-scale induction of fake degree holders between 2008 to 2014. Conflicts of interest of those at the helm in Islamabad and CAA in nexus with corrupt PIA executives saw the one-sided Open Sky Policy by the PML-N government, which effectively undid the concept of bilateral traffic rights and deprived PIA and other Pakistani airlines of their revenue share, to the sole advantage of Gulf-based airlines. Today PIA faces its worst crisis, and a surgical cleansing is required, along with appointment of qualified people at the helm.

Imran Sheikh

Texas, USA