Nearly 1,000 ‘surplus’ PIA employees laid off: Air Marshal Arshad

RAWALPINDI: The Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) management has laid off nearly 1,000 surplus employees and has taken other measures to reduce operational cost of the airline.

This was informed by PIA president and Chief Executive Air Marshal Arshad Malik during a meeting with Adviser to the Prime Minister on Finance Dr Abdul Hafeez Sheikh.

The PIA chief executive, according to a press release issued by the finance ministry, briefed Dr Sheikh on various activities and initiatives undertaken by the PIA to reduce its operational cost and increase revenues through better management and effective utilisation of available financial and human resources.

Dr Sheikh asked the PIA to pursue independent, sustainable business plan and said the government wanted the national flag carrier to effectively utilise its assets, improve revenue streams and ensure efficiency and financial discipline.

The adviser stressed the importance of a viable and independent corporate plan to help the PIA overcome its difficulties and achieve sustainability in its business processes and flight operations. He said the government was fully behind the PIA management and expected it to work diligently to turn the national flag carrier into an economically stable, viable and dependable airline for local and international travellers.

Arshad Malik thanked Dr Sheikh for his guidance and support and said the PIA management had been able to lay off nearly 1,000 “redundant staff” to save costs.

He termed the ongoing Haj operation a success with almost 90 per cent efficiency achieved in the pre-Haj flight operation and they expected similar results in the post-Haj operation for which all-out efforts were made to bring back the pilgrims as per schedule.

The PM’s adviser directed his team in the finance ministry to work closely with the PIA management and extend them all possible financial help, keeping in view the availability of fiscal space.

On Tuesday, Prime Minister Imran Khan had chaired a meeting of the Aviation Division in Islamabad to discuss PIA’s business plan, requirements and other issues. It was attended by Minister for Aviation Ghulam Sarwar Khan, Dr Hafeez Sheikh, Aviation Secretary Shahrukh Nusrat and Arshad Malik.

The prime minister directed the PIA chief executive to improve the performance of the airline and increase travel facilities. Mr Khan directed the finance ministry to cooperate with the PIA in the purchase of new aircraft.

Two narrow-bodied aircraft are expected to be included in the PIA fleet by the end of this year.