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PIA suffers loss of Rs4.31 billion due to strike

By Salman Siddiqui
February 16, 2016

KARACHI: The Pakistan International Airlines’ (PIA) board of directors reported on Monday the national flag carrier incurred a loss of Rs4.31 billion during the recent 15-day strike by its employees against potential privatisation, sources said.

The meeting resolved the losses would be recovered from leaders of the anti-privatisation protesters who kept the ticket sales counters closed for 15 days nationwide and kept aircraft grounded for about five days worldwide.

PIA cancelled around 600 flights on domestic and international routes during the strike. The meeting was presided over by acting chairman Irfan Elahi, who is also secretary aviation. This was the first meeting of the board since the National Assembly passed a law converting the national flag carrier into a public limited company in January.

The objective of the law was to sell off the loss-making airline. Discussing details of the losses, the board observed, the airline suffered a loss of Rs2.83 billion on account of loss of sales due to office closure, flight cancellations and re-accommodation of passengers. It booked a loss of Rs1.23 billion on account of refunds to passengers. And the airline incurred another loss of Rs250 million on other accounts during the strike

Earlier, the government had reported cumulative losses of the airline at around Rs300 billion.  The meeting observed the management did not take any action against those employees who observed a strike in 2011 and caused similar losses in that year.

The Joint Action Committee of PIA Employees (JACPIAE) against privatisation, however, said their negotiations with the government were on the right track, as the government and the employees were on the same page to turn around the loss-making airline.

Nasrullah Khan, spokesman of JACPIAE said in a note none of the employees have so far received any show-cause notice from the government. And all the employees are to continue serving the airline. He said employees have full trust in Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.