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PIA plans flights from Lahore to Tashkent

Business

February 26, 2021

KARACHI: Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) planned to operate flights from Lahore to Tashkent by end of March this year, the airline said on Thursday.

PIA top leadership sought formal permission to operate flights to Tashkent, it said in a statement after a meeting. PIA CEO Arshad Malik and Chief Commercial Officer Ali Tahir Qasim and other airline officials met with Ambassador of Uzbekistan in Pakistan Aybek Arif Usmanov and Pakistan’s Ambassador to Uzbekistan Syed Ali Asad Gilani.

Both Ambassadors have expressed their keenness and support to have air links between Pakistan and Uzbekistan.

PIA is planning to expand its network to destinations in Central Asian Countries and increasing frequency of flights to Afghanistan. The airline plans to operate five flights per week to Kabul from 4th March and will also operate flights to Baku from Lahore from 14th of March. Flights to Tashkent and also Bishkek are part of the airline’s network expansion program. State-owned PIA is undergoing restructuring currently to shed its losses.

PIA set aside Rs9.6 billion for employees who opted for voluntary separation scheme (VSS). Nearly 2,000 employees availed the VSS that was introduced after the approval of the government last year to restructure the loss-making airline.

Furthermore, subsequent to the approval of cabinet, the finance ministry had transferred Rs9.6 billion to the ministry of aviation. In December last, PIA announced VSS with a two-week deadline to employees for a decision as lose-making state-run airline continued to be a drain on public funds for over a decade. There were 10,500 regular employees on the payroll. If contractual workers and daily wagers are included the total workforce was somewhere around 13,000.

The airline sees attrition of 1,000 employees every year. The airline incurred over Rs56 billion losses alone in 2019 and that was continuation of its subpar performance for over a decade.