by: Amanullah Khan
PIA has sacked over 200 employees including six captains on the charges of holding fake degrees, Managing Director Muhammad Junaid Yunus revealed at a press briefing here Monday.
Although he clarified that PIA has no intention to retrench its employees, however zero tolerance would be meted out with those who are not upto mark and playing any unlawful gimmickry against the service rules.
Junaid said though the financial constraints are grave as PIA has to pay Rs one billion every month for debt servicing, yet has strong faith that the national airline has the potential to come out of the financial crisis with in a year if more new aircraft are inducted in its fleet.
Recently, the airline has introduced new destinations as well as enhanced number of flights to various parts of the world after making five grounded aircraft operative by its engineering and thus making the total number of flying aircraft to 25.
PIA’s problem is the shortage of planes for which fresh tenders are being floated to acquire the new ones of 5-6 year of age to make the airline fuel efficient.
Replying o a question he said that with the induction of five grounded aircraft into the fleet the revenue of airline will be enhanced by Rs1.5 billion, besides increasing revenues, the focus is on austerity within the airline to economise our overheads, he said.
He said that whether he is the head of the airline or not PIA being the national asset was his passion and he wants to see its growth and prosperity.
Replying to another question he said that the current strength of staff is around 16,600 besides daily wagers, however we have no intention of any purge of the staff and no new appointments unless it is imperative.
He said that the airline does not need financial support from the government except induction of new aircraft which are the source of income. The airline has no dearth of air traffic and revenue will start to flow in whenever we managed to enhance our fleet, he assured.
PIA chief said that healthy trends are very much evident in PIA and Insha Allah within one year the airline will be on the break- even level followed by profitability in years to come and no employee will be laid off. The availability of fleet has increased to 26 aircraft helping in restoring our schedule and introduction of 25 additional flights as well. This, he stated while addressing a press briefing in Head Office. Dy. Managing Director Engineering Air Vice Marshall Qasim Masood Khan, Director Flight Operations Captain Khalid Hamza and Director Marketing Mr.Khurram Mushtaq were also present.
He said if we have a fleet of 38-40 aircraft there is no need to look for Governmental assistance any more. Mr. Yunus said he is completely in agreement with the statement of Federal Minister of Information Mr.Pervez Rasheed that if the airline can manage its affairs through its own resources, there is no need to privatize.
We shall do the same and let me assure the Government that PIA is recovering fast and we will be no more a burden on State, he said. PIA has introduced 25 additional flights in its winter schedule 2013 including a new flight to Toronto making it to 4 per week, 6 flights to Manchester, 4 flights to Birmingham, 5 flights to Kualalampur, 22 flights to Dubai, 8 flights to Abu Dhabi, 7 to Muscat, 2 flights to Khatmandu on international routes whereas 4 additional flights on Karachi-Islamabad, 3 between Islamabad and Lahore and two additional flights between Quetta and Islamabad.
Mr. Yunus said that like leading airlines of World we have adopted Shrink to Grow philosophy according to which the aircraft deployment is according to economic viability of route. Amsterdam and Frankfurt have been closed and the aircraft is being utilized on more profitable route in Gulf. Similarly utilization of aircraft has been improved on domestic routes too.
He said that we have made all arrangements to acquire new aircraft. Previously this acquisition didn’t materialize due certain reason but now very soon new planes will be included in fleet. He said the optimum fleet requirement is 38-40 aircraft and once we have this number the airline will become self sufficient rather profitable. Mr. Yunus said 2013 has been a tough year for us mainly due fleet constraint and of course very low quantum of Umrah traffic due restrictions from Saudi Arabia.
But now the results are very encouraging and the revenues are on increase. He said we are also practicing various cost cutting measures especially the fuel saving exercises are under way. Presently we have around 16,600 employees and in few years around 3000-4000 employees will be retiring but no new induction will be made and therefore employee ratio per aircraft will be reduced.
He said all efforts are being taken for the betterment of airline with active participation of employees and the results are very promising, said Junaid Yunus. The smooth and on time Hajj operation is an example of it. So far we have been able to transport more than 29,000 hujjaj through 70 flights with a punctuality rate of above 95%. The increase in fleet availability has helped us in reducing the delays occurring earlier.
This article was written by Amanullah Khan and originally published on pakobserver