PIA to operate on commercially viable routes only

PIA to operate on commercially viable routes only

ISLAMABAD: Adviser to the Prime Minister on Aviation DivisionSardar Mehtab Ahmed Abbasi Thursday informed the Senate Special Committee onPerformance of Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) that the nationalflag-carrier would operate on commercially viable routes only.

“The PIA has decided in principle that it would operateon commercially viable routes only to minimize financial loses and make theorganization a profit earning entity,” he said in the committee meeting,chaired by Syed Muzaffar Hussain Shah.

He admitted that PIA’s performance was not up to themark, for which the current management was not responsible as it inherited severalissues from the past regimes over the years.

The adviser said PIA was being strengthened byinducting more aircraft in the fleet and improving its services, requesting theparliamentarians “to do criticism on PIA performance, but avoid passingnegative remarks as these affect its business, credit and reputation.”

Committee member Mushahid Ullah Khan said the PIAfleet was consisted of 16 aircraft only when the present government came intopower in 2013, while now its 37 planes were operating for different local andforeign destinations, out of which four were with engineering department fornecessary maintenance.

Committee Chairman Syed Muzaffar Hussain Shah expressedanger over non-submission of required information by the PIA management evenafter a period of eight months.

He constituted a sub-committee, comprisingFarhatullah Babar, Col ® Tahir Hussain Mashhadi and Numan Wazir, to probe the allegedsale of PIA Airbus A-310 to a German firm in violation Public ProcurementRegulatory Authority rules, which would submit its report in a period of twomonths, fixing responsibility.

Representatives of Anti-Narcotics Force (ANF)apprised the committee that a narcotics supplier namely Jannat Gul had beenarrested from Karachi, who allegedly was a ‘main source’ of transporting a hugequantity of Heroin seized from a PIA plane at Heathrow Airport, London on May15.

“The accused is used to supply narcotics from KhyberPakhtunkhwa to Karachi and recovered 8.5 kilogram drugs from him when he wasarrested,” they said.            Currently, they said the accused was on a judicialremand and had disclosed names of his two accomplices, while furtherinvestigation was underway.

They said the ANF had arrested PIA 17 employees inthe case and trying to unearth the gang, if involved any.

On a query of the Committee Chairman, the ANFofficials said National Crime Agency of UK, which seized the 11kg heroin from kitchencabinet of the PIA plane, did not share any information or outcome of itsinquiry with Pakistan.

Syed Muzaffar asked the official to submit a detailreport about modus operandi adopted by smugglers to use PIA planes for drugtrafficking.

They body directed the PIA management to improvequality of food items and other services provided to passengers during travelin flights.

Adviser to the PM on Aviation Sardar Mehtab said 59percent work on the Quetta airport expansion project had been completed andefforts were being made to complete the project at the earliest.

Among others, the meeting was attended by Senators MushahidUllah Khan,            Muhammad Usman Khan Kakar,Dr Ashok Kumar, Taj Muhammad Afridi, FArhatullah Babar , Sherry Rehman, Col.Syed Tahir Hussain Mashhadi, Nauman Wazir Khattak, Saleem Mandviwalla, NuzhatSadiq and Azam Swati, besides Secretary Aviation Division, CEO of PIACL andother senior officials.


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