Friday December 08, 2023

On the brink of collapse

February 26, 2021

Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) was once a great organisation that helped set up other airlines. It is so unfortunate that the once prestigious airline is now in need of help. As per media reports, the government has decided to engage foreign consultants for the operational/financial restructuring of PIA and for developing a viable business plan. The operational and financial health of the airline has deteriorated over the past two years, forcing the government to hire external experts to protect the organisation from collapse. At present, PIA is dependent on the government’s bailouts for meeting its critical obligations and cannot survive without its financial support. The organisation’s current plight offers no surprise as it avoided drastic but corrective measures that airlines around the world implemented in the recent months. If privately owned airlines in Pakistan can run successfully and earn profits, there is no reason why PIA cannot be turned into a profitable business. The airline should be managed by a professional team with a strong aviation business background. The appointment of foreign consultants can be seen as a last-ditch effort to rescue PIA, but, at the same time, it indicates the government’s lack of confidence in the ability of the airline’s present management.

Arif Majeed