By Rafique Ahmed Siddiqui
Courtesy & Thanks: Daily Dawn, 20th June 2008
When breaking news splashed on a local TV channel yesterday that ‘PIA has suffered over period of five years’ accumulated losses of 42.5 billion’, I was not at all surprised, but certainly it sadden me a lot. An organization, which once upon a time, used to be pride of nation because of its efficiency and excellent service it provided in the entire region. Some countries even hired its experts and professionals and established their airlines. Nevertheless mismanagement of past two decades has converted the same as a white elephant an added burden on nation’s economy and conscience as well.
So far, efforts have been made at federal level through injecting subsidies to rejuvenate the PIA. Privatization has also been on cards. But like any spoon feeding the subsidies also could not bring any positive improvement. The privatization has also proved to be no panacea of ills in view of the disappointment in the case of KESC, PTCL at el.
However looking to the strong base and 60 plus years experience of national carrier in the field of aviation I still feel that things can be changed to better if not best provided certain stringent measures of austerity are adopted. To achieve desired results prerequisite is the acceptability of such rigors by all those who are the beneficiaries of this organization starting especially from top to downward on the basis of age old maxim ‘charity starts from home’.
The instantaneous steps required for restoring the health of airline are hereunder:
1. All expensive contract employees at senior level should be relieved forthwith irrespective of their position and connection.
2. Since airline is already overstaffed fresh appointments should be banned for at least five years. The contract officials at junior level are allowed to continue at fixed emoluments till organization gains financial strength.
3. The facilities such as air tickets allowed to the employees including Chairman/MD and their families should be stopped for five years. Only official visits are allowed that too in economy class.
4. Any increase in the pay and perks as a result of CBA bargaining be freeze for at least two years.
5. In order to improve the marketing, sale of tickets should be made like a commercial organization. The selling agents should be given targets which if they fail to achieve result in cancellation of their licenses.
6. The circumstances which resulted in loss of lucrative air routes such as Europe have to be recaptured by satisfying the required international standards on war footings.
7. Efforts should be made to improve flying service, providing especial trainings to air staff as satisfaction of clients will attract more business.
8. Like any public corporation PIA also suffer colossal losses on account of pilferage especially in purchases, stores and kitchen etc. Effective deterrence is required to check the leakage. Those found involved should be dealt with severely. On this score alone organization can save huge amount of expenditure.
9. Life time benefits are allowed to the Chairmen/MDs (even those who were posted for few months) costing the organization extra millions pr month. This unnecessary expenditure should be continued forthwith.
The list of doable is not exhaustive as some one from the airline if feel like can add more to it. Nonetheless the bottom line is that it is time for the employees to scarify some benefits and privileges for the greater good of the organization whom they owe their happiness and existence.
Rafique Ahmed Siddiqui
D/3 Bridge View Apartment,