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PIA revival plan to be finalised by March

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday said the privatisation of Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) was not in the manifesto of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf government.

“Privatisation of the national flag carrier is not in the manifesto of the PTI government and therefore it has initiated a reform process to overcome losses being incurred by the airline,” he said at a meeting held to discuss PIA and its revival.

The prime minister stressed that the reason behind reforms in PIA was to save the national flag carrier from consistent losses and make it a profitable entity.

The meeting was attended by Minister of Finance Asad Umar, Federal Minister for Aviation Mohammad Mian Soomro and PIA Chief Executive Officer retired air marshal Arshad Mehmood.

On the occasion, the PIA CEO briefed the prime minister on the entity’s reform plan and the new aviation policy.

He revealed that a comprehensive business plan for the PIA will be presented by the end of March.

PM Khan urged the authorities concerned to keep the nation abreast with the measures being taken for revival of crippling national flag carrier.

Not only the PIA, the government has withdrawn its plan of privatisation of “sick” units and decided to revive, 195 ‘sick’ state enterprises.

The meeting was informed that under the strategy to deal with sick government units, the cabinet on November 16 approved formation of Sarmaya-i-Pakistan Company — which will work on Singaporean and Malaysian models — to decide the fate of sick entities. PM Khan will lead the SPC board of governors while seven experts from the private sectors will share their inputs on PIA, Pakistan Steel Mills and Pakistan Railways.

In a meeting held on January 1, the prime minister was apprised that PIA losses had crossed Rs414 billion mark. PM Khan had directed the PIA chairman to devise a comprehensive business plan to overcome losses.

The prime minister was informed that the total losses of PIA were Rs414.3bn and the organisation was facing a deficit of Rs500 million on seven international routes in addition to loss on domestic routes.

It was also brought into knowledge of the prime minister that 194 PIA staffers, including seven captains, 73 cabin crew members and other officials were sent home during an ongoing drive against employees appointed on bogus educational certificates

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