Being PIA MD is a thankless job…


The new Managing Director of Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) Rao Qamar Suleman face challenges of not only revamping the huge human resource and financial loopholes of the airline but would also have to seriously and effectively check the flaws in flight operations which previous management did not even consider worthy enough.
Latest in series of setbacks at foreign destination is the most lucrative station Jeddah, the reason nothing new to airline, flights operating delayed.
Earlier, the PIA was reprimanded by the British aviation authorities over delays and lax safety. And this time, the national airline has been warned by the Saudi civil aviation authorities to ensure its scheduled landing time for the summer flights. “Or be ready to shift night landings to the day time,” which will result in inconvenience to the PIA passengers.
The new MD PIA sources said, will have to take stern action by appointing efficient staff at strategic positions in all departments to send message to all ranks that merit will be the only criteria, otherwise the sloppy flight operation will get further sluggish as currently the airline is plagued with unconcerned staff.
Sources informed that the Saudis have pointed out that frequent arrival and departure delays by the PIA flights quite much disturb the schedules of other airlines at the busy airports of Jeddah and Riyadh.
“Officials of PIA in Saudi Arabia have passed on the reservations of the Saudi aviation authorities to the PIA Headquarters with a request to give an undertaking that the summer flights would adhere to the scheduled timings,” said the source. Since, they are closely monitoring all the PIA flights there, any slippage in this regard would cost PIA dearly, sources added.
Earlier the Jeddah King AbdulAziz Airport Authority had shifted PIA flight operations to Hajj terminal from normal terminal for delays and carrying mostly Umrah passengers on regular flights.
Sources informed that since Jan 1st 2012 till the end of March almost 400 flights from different cities of Pakistan to/from Jeddah got delayed out of more than only 500 flights. During the same period, around 50 flights to/from Medina also got delayed out of above 60 flights.
On the other hand, concerned PIA officials have warned the management that the shift of flight landings in Saudi Arabia from night to day time would upset the schedule of almost all other PIA flights. Therefore, it was advised to strictly follow the schedules, said the sources.
The Director Marketing PIA in one of his communications with the management said that “the concerns shown by General Authority of Civil Aviation in Saudi Arabia and KAIA need to be taken seriously. It is requested that we must maintain punctuality to avoid any untoward situation in PK’s operations. All efforts be made to maintain all departures/arrivals as per schedule filed with the Regulatory Authorities.”
He further said that “It may please be noted that the Saudis are very rigid and if once decided they can ask PK to shift its operation in day times. Such concerns have time and again been highlighted by GACA/KAIA in certain meetings with the local PK authorities.”
“Shifting of operations to day times will not only hamper other PK network operation but it will also give a bad name to the national flag carrier. Such a bad impression also affects market and definitely passengers will also be disturbed and divert to other carriers,” he added.
It may be mentioned here that airports in Saudi Arabia are the ones most lucrative for PIA’s business, but the national airlines’ indifferent attitude towards these stations will land PIA in trouble.
The mentioning of earlier warning issued to PIA by the authorities of King Abdulaziz International Airport Jeddah would not be out of place here as they refused to operate the PIA flights on the conditions of PIA. It was reported that the delayed operations of 32 flights out of 40 flights scheduled to Jeddah in the just 20 days of February (from 1stto 20th) by PIA resulted in taking the KAIA authorities stern action against the incessant inefficiency of the PIA authorities. It is pertinent to mention that PIA’s flights from from Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad, and Peshawar stations to Jeddah usually got delayed on daily basis.

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