Pakistan International Airlines Eyes Return To Profitability By 2024

On Tuesday, IATA Consultancy presented a five-year business plan for Pakistan International Airlines. The proposed restructuring sees the airline break even by 2023 and return to profitability by 2024. Furthermore, it suggests that PIA should grow its fleet by 20 aircraft by 2026, focusing on strengthening already profitable routes while exploring previously untapped markets.

Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) has had a particularly rough couple of years. As if the pandemic wasn’t enough, one of the airline’s Airbus A320s suffered a deadly crash in Karachi in May 2020. An ensuing scandal concerning dubious pilot certificates caused aviation authorities in Europe and the US to ban the carrier from operating in their airspace.

Last month, the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) refused to lift its ban on Pakistani carriers based on a completed ICAO safety audit. EASA Executive Director Patrick Ky said that while some safety concerns had been attended to, it was essential to address the overall oversight capacity of the Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority (PCCA).

Five years ahead

Nonetheless, PIA is looking to the future. Last year, Pakistan’s Ministry of Finance commissioned a rescue plan from IATA Consultancy. It was formally presented to the Ministers of Finance and Aviation on Tuesday, February 1st. The plan covers the years from 2022 to 2026 and sees the airline return to profitability somewhere down the middle. Meanwhile, it foresees the carrier breaking even again by 2023.

In the plan, IATA suggests that PIA, owned to 86% by the Government of Pakistan, be run under private management rules. Furthermore, it says that ‘external influences’ should be curtailed and ‘public scrutiny’ scaled back as it would hinder the corporate responsibilities of the managers and create negative PR for the company.

Details of the plan

According to the International News, the proposed business plan focuses on financial restructuring, independent decision making, re-organization of the company structure, restrictions to the core business, financial discipline, HR cost controls, destination review, fleet planning, and network expansion.

PIA’s fleet will grow from a current 29 aircraft to 49 by 2026. It will consist of 16 widebodies, 27 narrowbodies, and six turboprop aircraft. The airline is to use the additional aircraft to expand on routes to the UK, Saudi Arabia, UAE, and the rest of the Gulf region. It will also add services to identified markets of Baku, Hong Kong, Istanbul, Kuwait, Tehran, Urumqi, and Singapore.

‘Return to past glory’

Pakistan’s Minister of Finance and Revenue, Shaukat Tarin, emphasized that PIA was a national flag carrier and as such needed to be a world-class airline. He further stated that the government believed in reviving the struggling carrier and stressed that he wished to focus on the Pakistani diaspora, along with improved customer services.


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