The Pakistan International Airlines, once the pride of the nation, has turned into a sinking ship due to corruption, over-staffing, cargo pilferage, fake degrees of employees and drug smuggling by the crew members. Founded on 23rd October, 1946, the record-breaking airline has now sunk into the abyss of huge losses.
Every year, the losses of PIA increases two to three times. The last recorded loss to the PIA was 400 billion rupees. The main reasons for these losses are over-staffing, fake degrees of employees and arrest of crew members because of drugs. The rate of employment is particularly high, 545 crew members are assigned to a single aircraft as compared to other airlines where on average only a hundred members are required. The current number of employees in PIA is 18,000 supporting only 33 aircrafts that is a perfect example of over staffing, resulted due to employments through bribery and contacts. This results in much load of payrolls on the budget that it is impossible for the airline to get any profits. Another reason for the huge amount of losses is the employment of workers with fake degrees. When such people are employed who have literally no knowledge of their jobs, they tend to reduce the efficiency of the whole system at the same pay grade as any deserving individual with background knowledge. This places a burden on the budget and results in huge losses.
Another major problem with the Pakistan International Airline is that the crew members are involved in smuggling of drugs. Every now and then, one or two or a whole group of employees are caught smuggling drugs or sometimes they even place the drugs on travelers, framing them in case of detection. This leads to many airports not allowing PIA flights which reduces their number of passengers. The reputation of this airline has gone on falling because of several drug trafficking incidents.
Cargo pilfering also increases the losses of the airline. By loading unregistered cargo on planes, the weight is increased, on average by about 2800 kg more than what was paid for. This increases the fuel consumption and leads to quite a lot of losses.
If the PIA is to survive, it should learn to deal with these grave problems. Otherwise, the day is not far when PIA will just be a part of the Pakistan’s history. We saw a little hope in PIA’s fate when the Chief Justice of Pakistan Saqib Nisar took suo moto against privatization of Pakistan’s national flag carrier and summoned all MDs that served PIA in the last decade.