There was a post in this blog forewarning the nation about a couple of national Titanics who were waiting in the wings to sink the entire economy. Pakistan Steel has already got the bail-out package but it has yet to be bailed out unless the more hefty package is announced. The amount of money that the Government has so far doled out to bail this white elephant out was sufficient to build another Steel Mills of the same size.
The other one of these Titanics is Pakistan’s national flag-carrier which was previously great people to fly with when it was making money but later converted to come fly with us when it started making losses. It is living on the blood of common Pakistanis who may not have even seen an aircraft. It has now been reported that Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) has asked the government to approve a financial support package to ensure sustainability of the national airline. This emerged during the 326th Board of Directors meeting which was held at the carrier’s office in Lahore. Express Tribune has reported that the plan will be presented to the federal government for approval after a few adjustments desired by the board are included in the proposal.
The board also urged the government to review the aviation policy to make it more equitable for all stakeholders. A level playing field for Pakistani airlines was demanded. Directors also agreed that shareholders’ support in the form of equity injection is vital for a sustainable turnaround. The equity is hard-earned income of not the directors but common Pakistanis who have the misfortune of being owners of the airlines but who can not ask a simple question; why should we pay for your inefficiency?
In order to cater the shortage of pilots for various aircraft, it was decided that the airline would give an option to those pilots who had reached the retirement age of 60 years to rejoin on contract basis. After the air crash of Air Blue, will it be wise to let over-aged pilots to fly the planes? The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) of Pakistan has already allowed pilots to fly up to the age of 62 years.
The meeting was chaired by Defense Minister Chaudhry Ahmed Mukhtar who has no clue to as to what an airline business is. He is the same gentleman who being the Defense Minister had given a brilliant opinion about drones: drones do not take off from Pakistani bases, these only land there.