PIA employees fear hiring of retired air force men

Published: March 6, 2012

Airline unaware, says there is complete ban on hiring. PHOTO: REUTERS/ FILE

KARACHI: 

Leading associations of Pakistan International Airline (PIA) employees have voiced concern over expected hiring of retired Pakistan Air Force (PAF) employees in the airline, saying the government’s decision will further destabilise the national flag carrier.

Representatives of the Joint Action Committee of PIA Employees met recently to discuss this issue.

Presidents of seven associations that make up the Joint Action Committee said there were indications that the government was going to hire retired PAF employees in the airline on top positions from the managing director to other important slots.

Talking to The Express Tribune, General Secretary of the Society of Aircraft Engineers of Pakistan, Zakir Farooq, said the PIA employees were getting the impression that a number of retired PAF employees were going to be hired in the airline.

“Based on our previous experience, we can say that this decision will not help the airline,” he said. “PIA needs people who have an experience in commercial aviation.”

Farooq said PIA was a commercial airline that should be run by business-minded people who had some experience in commercial aviation. However, in case of PAF employees, that could not be expected owing to their experience of armed forces.

PIA spokesperson Sultan Hasan, however, said there was a complete ban on hiring in PIA. “No one is going to be hired in the airline,” he said.

He denied having knowledge of any such decision, but said it was up to the government to hire people in PIA.

According to PIA officials, rumours were doing the rounds that the outgoing PAF chief would take over as managing director of the airline and bring his new team comprising retired PAF employees.

Published in The Express Tribune, March 6th, 2012.

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Reader Comments (17)

  • Meekal Ahmed
    Mar 6, 2012 - 4:44AM

    It needs to be asked who killed the PIA flying academy (which is now being revived by a new academy in Hydrabad).

    Did PIA stop needing pilots?

    I am sure the old academy was killed to provide jobs for the boys. the Ministry of Defense needs to answer.

    Of coourse, they never will.

    There is nothing wrong with PAF pilots joining the national airlines. This happens all over the world. But it is an easy and inexpensive way to fly for the airlines. These pilots are trained with tax-payer money at great cost (and no cost to them). They then leave the PAF with fat pensions and join an airline — PIA, Shaheen or Air Blue.

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  • Silent Observer
    Mar 6, 2012 - 8:51AM

    the whole world knows how well PIA is doing under current management experienced in commercial aviation.

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  • Huzaifa K.L
    Mar 6, 2012 - 9:47AM

    @ meekal, most of them don’t take early retirement. and when they do retire, they have full right to do whatever they want during their retired lives. They’ve already spent their whole life serving the nation and that pays off the tax payer money that was used to train them! and mind you the training was not for their personal benefit, it was for the benefit of the nation. So don’t talk like the nation did some favor to them by spending money on their training.

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  • Azmat Rizvi
    Mar 6, 2012 - 9:53AM

    We are desperately looking for a genuine and honest team to take over and save PIA management. We are fed up with the promises and lies of existing management of present PIA brass.
    I pray and wish that person from PAF like Air Marshal Nur Khan should revive our National carrier, After all it is our bread and butter.
    We would be with You:::: With all our support and hands.

    Rizvi
    PIA Engineer

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  • Adeel Ahmed
    Mar 6, 2012 - 1:02PM

    For the last 20 years, I have preferred PIA for my domestic and international travels. Till 2008, that is. Since 2008, I only use it as a last resort. The flights almost never leave on time, the service (from booking to check-in to in-flight) is pathetic, the staff is callous, untrained and rude, and the aircraft look and smell like local route mini-buses. Just in the last one year, due to delays and other issues, I asked PIA to offload me. What more can I say.

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  • sars
    Mar 6, 2012 - 3:57PM

    That will be a real mistake. If they start hiring trained and disciplined staff , how will the politicians be able to recruit their uneducated yahoo relatives and cronies into these positions for fat paychecks and pensions??????.

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  • Meekal Ahmed
    Mar 6, 2012 - 4:07PM

    @Huzaifa K.L:

    I completely disagree with you, Sir. They DO retire early (all services) but are entitled to a FULL pension. On the civilian side, I think the requirement for a full pension is 25 years of service.

    The PAF trains them at taxpayer expense, (meaning people like me) and then they leave and get a cushy airline job. How is that of benefit to the country? The guy has to be re-trained and re-certified anyway since flying an Airbus is not the same as flying an F-16.

    The poor First Officer who died in the Air Blue crash was from the PAF. He was only 35 years old.

    Compared to these guys, there are guys and girls out there who sell the shirts off their back to go to flying school either in Pakistan or abroad. They literally spend lacks of their own or family money just to become pilots.

    The academcy which is re-starting will help. In the old academy you paid nothing, they trained you to CPL standard and then the cost of your training was deducted from your monthly pay-check.

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  • Huzaifa K.L
    Mar 6, 2012 - 4:35PM

    As far as i know, mostly those officers retire early who are not promoted! otherwise it doesn’t happen that often…

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  • Huzaifa K.L
    Mar 6, 2012 - 4:37PM

    and I’m sure if when someone doesn’t retire early and does well to become a general, alot of people would then have problems with them getting alot of benefits and perks which shows people generally will never be happy for others if they’re successful in life..

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  • Asim
    Mar 6, 2012 - 5:14PM

    strong textHow much do you pay to get a pilots job in PIA if you are not ‘connected’…???

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  • ahmed
    Mar 6, 2012 - 5:22PM

    @Adeel Ahmed: with all due respect sir…when ever i had to fly on PIA or even any member of my family….we did not faced any delays…or bad atitude of staf…on the contrary i find them best…..let our local passengers travel in any other airline and they wil know the value of PIA…..i have travelled on turkish airlines frm istanbul to islamabad last year thinking that the plane and staff would be PIA as they had some codeshare agreement before but it wasnt like this…first of all…the plane was small a 737 for 5 6 hours of flight…its too crampy…plus the staff they did not knew how to deal with certain people….so what i want to say is that…we should try to make this airline the best in the world rather than critisizing it…nd it never smelled like a local bus to me….i have traveled a lot and in diferent airlines…nd i still find PIA better….when the airplanes get older they need repairs….if they take off on time and there is a problem in mid air then what to do…isnt it beter to wait a liitle until the plane is airworthy….,,criticizing and making people go away frm flying with PIA wil not help our flag carrier…the government and the PIA brass are corrupt to the core to make this situation of PIA,,regards

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  • Azmat Rizvi
    Mar 6, 2012 - 5:25PM

    I think if some one has the courage and will to serve the nation, he should give a try to his/ her son in Armed Forces. Unfortunately, I lost one of my cousin recently, How painful is the feeling, Only sibling or parents can tell the feelings.
    So Salute to the people who decide to serve their nation. It require a big heart with strong will power.
    Just see the Chinese nation, every individual is suppose to undergo national cause training.
    My all brothers, please do not burn your all ships, after all they are defending our motherland from all ills.
    Rizvi
    PIA

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  • Meekal Ahmed
    Mar 6, 2012 - 5:46PM

    @ahmed:

    Technical problems will always occur in mid-air! It would be nice if they only happened in the ground.

    Pilot’s are trained to deal with them. If they cannot correct the situation, they are supposed to land at the nearest suitable airport. That is standard procedure.

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  • Mar 7, 2012 - 12:05AM

    the PIA can’t get worse than this, improvement seems to be the only option, so should go ahead with the idea!

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  • Awais
    Mar 7, 2012 - 1:49AM

    It is a standard practice all over the educated and developed world, to give preference to ex-military guys in national flag carriers. Ex-military pilots are preferred because of their skills, discipline and availability of past flying records. Same was being followed till the 70s here probably. It will surely be good for PIA if they got a few honest and hard working heads.

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  • Meekal Ahmed
    Mar 7, 2012 - 5:10AM

    @Awais:

    Sorry, ther is no “standard practice”.

    It is true, however, that airlines draw upon the military for their pilots. yet, most countries have civilian flying schools which produce “honest and hard working heads”. So should Pakistan.

    So, my original question was/is ‘why did we stop the PIA Academy’?

    the answer is obvious: in our country, the military is king.

    Stop kidding yourself.

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  • Amir Aki
    Mar 7, 2012 - 4:39PM

    I fully support the idea of Mr Awais and Mr Rizvi.
    PIA management needs complete replacement with honest, sincere and dedicated personnel. May it be from our beloved Air Force or civilian team but must be conditioned with time lines.

    Engr Amir Ali

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