Standing firm: PIA boss defends Turkish Airlines deal

Published: January 15, 2011
Haroon dispels impression that PIA is off limits in US and deal made under political pressure

Haroon dispels impression that PIA is off limits in US and deal made under political pressure

KARACHI: The arrangement with Turkish Airlines will benefit Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) and also hugely facilitate Pakistani passengers, the flagship carrier’s Managing Director Aijaz Haroon has said in an interview with The Express Tribune.

Haroon was defending his decision to sign an arrangement with Turkish Airlines because of which, the PIA will end up losing at least seven destinations, including five in Europe and two in the US.

The MD has recently come under heavy criticism from within his own organisation. Unions, including the PIA Senior Staff Association, Pakistan Airline Pilots Association, Flight Engineers National Association, Society of Aircraft Engineers of Pakistan and Aircraft Technology Association of Pakistan, say that the deal spells ‘disaster’ for PIA. The Air League of the PIA Employees also held a rally outside the Karachi Press Club on Thursday.

A Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) official said that, under pressure from dissenting voices, the defence ministry has gotten involved and instructed the CAA to review and submit a report into the deal. In its report, the CAA has opposed the PIA-Turkish Airlines deal, saying that they were not consulted before the deal was signed.

Giving details of the agreement, he said that a ‘record of discussion’, not a memorandum of understanding, has been signed between the two airlines. “When it is implemented, passengers from any three destinations (Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad) in Pakistan will have access to daily flights to 130 destinations in Europe, US, South America and Africa with only one stop in Istanbul,” he said.

Currently, PIA offers only 40 international destinations, which is miniscule compared to Turkish Airlines’ more than 130 spots. Without the new arrangement, a passenger flying to New York from Islamabad would first have to take a domestic flight to Lahore and reach his destination via Manchester.

“PIA will continue to maintain those 40 destinations. But I have also gained 130 destinations (of Turkish Airlines) against selling only seven destinations,” he said. According to the arrangement, the PIA will hand over to Turkish Airlines its passengers from Pakistan to Frankfurt, Amsterdam, Milan, Barcelona, New York and Chicago after a stopover in Istanbul.

Haroon said that by offering seven destinations, he had given away only five per cent of PIA’s market share out of the 5.5 million passengers that the airline caters to annually. “Now, I am going to share destinations with an airline whose market in that area is 25 million people. So they are five times my size in that area which is now available to me. So, even if I take five per cent from that share, it’ll be a tremendous amount,” he argued.

PIA will continue operating flights to UK, France, Norway, Denmark and other European stations directly. “After this agreement the whole world will be open to you. Nothing will reduce. In fact, PIA will expand massively,” he said.

It is interesting to note that Turkish Airlines would discontinue its flights to Dhaka, Colombo and Kathmandu and transfer its passengers for eastern destinations to PIA. “This is a great advantage. For example, a lot of people from Western Europe, especially Germany and Switzerland go to Kathmandu, but they never come on PIA.  But now these passengers will be coming on board our airlines from Karachi,” he said.

The Air Service Agreement (ASA) has not yet been signed. Haroon said operations would begin on a temporary operating permit basis. The commencement of flights under the code sharing agreement would begin on March 28 and a month-long campaign by the PIA would begin mid-February.

Both airlines will earn 15 per cent on a reciprocal basis. “Suppose Turkish Airlines sells a ticket from Karachi to Berlin. So from Karachi to Istanbul, PIA will fly and on that Turkish Airlines will get 15 per cent and Istanbul-Berlin would be Turkish Airlines’ complete share. But if PIA sells the ticket, then Karachi to Istanbul will be our complete share, while from the Istanbul-Berlin trip, we’ll get 15 per cent,” he said.

He said that Turkish Airlines was competing with Emirates and other airlines but Turkey suited PIA more since it would earn more through the six-hour-long trip to Istanbul compared with just two hours to Dubai.

He dismissed as baseless rumours the allegation that PIA was forced to go along with an arrangement with Turkish Airlines in the interest of promoting closer relations with Turkey whose president is known to be close to President Asif Ali Zardari. “There was no pressure as such on PIA to go into this agreement. There are 21 flights, PIA is going to do 14, Turkish Airlines is going to do seven. So had there been pressure, it would have been the other way,” he said.

Haroon said that the agreement did not restrict PIA from operating direct flights anywhere in the world. He clarified that PIA was not banned from flying to the US as some people were claiming. “We knew that when we’ll say that PIA would no longer be operating in New York and Chicago (its only destinations in the US), people will start saying that PIA has been made out of bounds from the US,” he said, adding that because of this reason the airline was looking into the option of flying to Houston. “We’re evaluating whether it is worth flying there. But this doesn’t change the fact that there is no restriction on flying to the US,” he said. Turkish Airlines offers four destinations in the US: Los Angeles, Washington, Chicago and New York.

When asked why people within his organisation, especially pilots, are opposing the alliance, he said they were just unhappy because their extra allowances will be cut. “When a pilot flies to New York, he gets 600 dollars over and above all other allowances because it’s a long-range flight. So he knows that the 1,200 dollars he would get for flying two flights to New York per month would now be no longer coming into his pocket,” he said.

Also, he said, they won’t be able to go to New York for free anymore along with their families to visit their child who studies there. “They are selfish. They are just looking at how their allowances would be reduced. But I, on the other hand, am looking at the larger interest of the airline and its passengers,” Haroon claimed.

He rejected the assertion that there would be widespread downsizing in PIA at its international centres because of this arrangement. “There will be no retrenchment or downsizing of any sort,” he said, adding that PIA might have to open up new offices, for example in Berlin, to tell passengers that if you want to go to Pakistan from there, you can go through PIA. Also, he stressed, the Chicago and New York offices will not be shut down. “On the sector that PIA is not going to operate, I will get paid if I sell a ticket and I get net 15 per cent just by booking a flight. So what do you think I’ll do? Will I reduce my sales team or will I enhance it?” he asked.

Haroon suspects that the lobby of Gulf Airlines is also behind the chorus against the alliance between PIA and Turkish Airlines. “You know what killed PIA? It was these six carriers that came into Pakistan,” he said referring to the Gulf Airlines, Emirates, Qatar Airways, Etihad, Gulf Air and Air Arabia. He said the stiff competition given by these airlines would hurt most when the new arrangement takes effect. “I wouldn’t be surprised if it is found out that this lobby is also greasing the palms of some of our union leaders,” he said.

Haroon said he wasn’t worried about reports that the defence ministry is evaluating the agreement. “They have to evaluate because it is their decision, not mine,” he said, adding that once the two airlines informed their respective governments that they’ve agreed on a commercial agreement, it is left to the governments to decide if they should proceed or not.

About reports that PIA was incurring losses, he said the fact was that “for the first time in PIA’s history, we crossed the Rs100-billion mark in revenue figures last year. In 2007, it was around 70 (billion),” Haroon, who joined PIA in 2008, said. His deputies say the unofficial figure stands at Rs108 billion.

When asked whether Turkish Airlines would be able to cater to the comfort of passengers, many of whom complain that it isn’t the best when it comes to that department, Haroon said: “we’ve put a restriction on Turkish Airlines that on certain routes they will use only the 777, A340 or C40 aircraft.”

More importantly, he says, visa will be on arrival in Istanbul. “For tourist visa, it’ll be airline sponsored just like one gets through Thai Airlines when you go to Thailand. We’ll have our cabin crew on these flights; there will be Pakistani food on the menu; there is an engineering alliance also and we have also asked for in-flight entertainment like Pakistani dramas, and PIA transit facility and lounge facilities in Istanbul,” he said.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 15th, 2011.

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Reader Comments (68)

  • Syed
    Jan 15, 2011 - 8:39AM

    I support this decision .itwould be the best decision PIA would make in along time(30 years)Recommend

  • Farooq
    Jan 15, 2011 - 9:08AM

    I believe this is great decision by Mr. Haroon regarding joining Turkish Airline. For once management made good decision that will help PIA and expand its services to compete more like Global Airline of course Union leaders will fight that decision. Government should approve this deal without even thinking.Recommend

  • Leo
    Jan 15, 2011 - 9:25AM

    Good job Mr. Haroon I am proud of you doing the right thing for Pakistanis living abroad.Recommend

  • Jan 15, 2011 - 9:26AM

    In the absence of the “inside scope” on the surface it does look like a strategic alliance.Recommend

  • junaid
    Jan 15, 2011 - 9:36AM

    I think its a good decision by the CEO. I would go in favor of it. unless some thing else come out of it. It is true however that PIA staff has made PIA their family airline for vacation and free tickets to all over the world. Recommend

  • Taimur
    Jan 15, 2011 - 9:59AM

    I think its a good move.. he is right.. i have many class fellows abroad whos parents work in PIA and they are flying around the world for free all the time.. but again that’s a privilege they are entitled too and family members of bureaucrats and armed forces also get privileges.. how are the rates of turkish airlines??Recommend

  • abdullah
    Jan 15, 2011 - 10:11AM

    this is true the greed of opilots will never finishRecommend

  • Deen Sheikh
    Jan 15, 2011 - 10:14AM

    PIA abandoning its JFK route, that is not cool, ok. New York, JFK is too prestigious an international destination for any airline to abandon. Sure abandoning Chicago and a few of those European destinations makes sense, but JFK, something is fishy.Recommend

  • Adi
    Jan 15, 2011 - 10:26AM

    Dont see anything wrong in the deal…yup the cockpit and cabin crew would surely loose on allowences!Recommend

  • Shamsi Ajani
    Jan 15, 2011 - 10:48AM

    This move should be stopped on economic grounds and on national grounds.
    The present MD is on hit and run mission. Did the present move have any approval of the Board or the executive committee. Were any stake holders taken into confidence?
    if need be , one should move to hon Supreme Court to stop this madness.
    Can the MD tell us,what is the cost of gate at Chicago and New York JFK? or the other airports he is planning to give away.

    What has destroyed PIA is not Gulf airlines but mismanagement and corruption in PIA.Recommend

  • Adeel
    Jan 15, 2011 - 11:12AM

    i give priority to Pia just because of the direct flight from JFk to Lhe in 14 hours only.. now why should i travel on PIA? i would definitely choose Emirates, or Qatar for that.. at least they provide better on board service.. Recommend

  • Fareed Khan
    Jan 15, 2011 - 11:36AM

    This is a shame to PK and PIA, no wonder he ends up screwing everything.. Recommend

  • Jan 15, 2011 - 11:43AM

    Mr Haroon has performed the role of undertakers for PIA. This is the last nail in PIA’s coffin. During his tenure of over 30 months, PIA losses have hiked up by 110% to Rs 88 Billion. When he took over the airline accumulated losses were Rs42 Billion. He has systematically destroyed PIA’s working, its marketing, maintenance, flight operations and profitability, by massive changes in GSA, Ground Handling Agencies, Maintenance Repair OverHaul outsourcing contracts and employment of surplus staff. The deal negotiated by PIA with TA was headed on behalf of PIA by the MD himself, whose sole claim to business expertise is that he belongs to memon community. He is only an O’Level and holds a ALTP(Airline Transport Pilot Licence). The other member of his team is his choice of Director Marketing, a man who has no experience in aviation marketing, except his present tenure. The DM is just a plain graduate with a history of controversies. The Turkish Airline team was headed by by its CEO who is a PHD in Aeronautical Sciences from University of Michigan, while his Deputy is a PHD in International Commercial Arbitration. from Institute of Advanced Legal Studies at University of London. When Termel Kotil took over TA as its CEO in 2003, the airline had suffered losses of 69 Trillion TL in 2000. In 2009 TA has made profits of over 559 Trillion TL. The only asset of PIA which was not owned by banks were its international routes, which are in the process of being sold. The last time PIA sold a route was the London NewYork sector in late 60s, and till todate we have never been able to get it back. A desperate PIA MD who earlier wanted to buy 42 aircrafts and came up with all the arguments to get this deal through, having failed to get the funds, now wants to sell PIA’s International Routes. If PIA with over 75% Load Factor and fares comparable to those charged by TA is going in a loss, the reasons are pilferage and kickbacks, not less revenues. TA with a load factor of 70% is making profits, because it has an honest qualified management, which has curtailed pilferages.Recommend

  • Iftikhar-ur-Rehman
    Jan 15, 2011 - 12:21PM

    He is bent upon destroying PIA, which was already in trouble and for this he must have been given some cash awards( read graft) by someone who is going to make a lot of money.Recommend

  • Nasir
    Jan 15, 2011 - 12:23PM

    The agreement should be made public for transparency of the deal and if it is viable, must be go on. PIA should be run on a business perspective rather than political.Recommend

  • Jan 15, 2011 - 12:56PM

    PIA is being led down the endless pit to which Railways, Pakistan Steel Mills, OGDC, PASSCO, NHA, TCP, NICL, NBP etc have been led into. State Exchequer and tax payers money, it seems, are there to be plundered and destroyed by anyone, no questions asked. What were the qualifications of PIA MD to be appointed as head of national airline. It is sad to see PIA being destroyed. Who do you think would like to travel by PIA now. If passengers have to change an airline, another aircraft at Istanbul, why should they not prefer Emirates, Etihad etc. This is the only airline in the world which had an assured revenue traffic load of over 70% and yet it was going in a loss.The losses are not due to lack of revenues, but for other factors such as rise in operating expenses, pilferages etc. PIA buys fuel at the same rates that other airlines buy. It charges fares in dollar terms,what others charge. All that it needs is an upright managment, which is qualified and has an impeccable record of integrity. There is no shortage of qualified men with integrity in Pakistan. It is all down to political will and objectives of the elected executive. Recommend

  • Taimur
    Jan 15, 2011 - 2:45PM

    On a second thought.. If we all recall recently, the Americans demanded PNR related information and passengers list from Pakistan for people flying from Pak to US.. Pak did not oblige.. there was also some talk about some US personal being deployed at some of our airports to screen passengers going to the US.. I personally think US told Pak no more Pak flights to the US and just to hide the embarrassment they added the other 4 cities.. how has he opened 130 other cities.. people are paying turkish airlines once they reach turkey and want to go to these 130`countries.. we can easily fly to dubai and do the same… rubbish! Recommend

  • Jan 15, 2011 - 3:39PM

    Those who appointed this management, knew full well, yet they went ahead and appointed this team. PIA was first stripped of all its revenues, which were devoured by the wolves and than the wolves were given the task to guard the sheeps. The wolves did only what they were capable of doing, devoured the sheeps. First they tried to buy new aircrafts thereby providing a fresh herd of lambs for these wolves. when this could not be done, they decided to sell the skeletons. BYE BYE PIA. There goes another asset owned by poor unfortunate tax payers of Pakistan.Recommend

  • Jan 15, 2011 - 3:45PM

    The MD himself allegedly raised salaries of pilots, airhostesses, engineers, hired surplus staff, and now blames the employees of PIA . Can somebody reveal who owns the Catering firm that supplies food to PIA flights in Europe. This is a UK based company. Next who owns the Maint Repair Overhaul company based in Dubai, through which all maintenance and procurement of technical spares are being routed through. My friends, this is the HEIST of the DECADE.Recommend

  • Shariz
    Jan 15, 2011 - 4:04PM

    I support fully support Mr Haroon, people from US seeing their comfert only but what service do they get for the money they spend on PIA? PIA tickets are much higher than other airlines and service you get is bad. PAPA members obviously go againts this decision beacuse they wont be able to rip off PIA revenue anymore for their families and that is another factor that PIA is always in loss apart from the fact that traveling through PIA is expensive and it always been.Now PIA would gain more revenue by getting other destinations and good thing is that Pakistan would be a channel for the passengers travelling other asian destination also for fareast which didnt happen before, and Pakistanis can visit Istanbul also.Recommend

  • Ali Wahab
    Jan 15, 2011 - 4:32PM

    Why do we have to smell a rat, scam and scandal in everything? Whenever you make a deal, you gain some and lose some. You need to view the pros and cons of every deal in the future. Look at the potential advantages: you get access to more locations where PIA doesnt fly. For example, why just focus on Europe. Why not gaining access to African continent where PIA is not flying? Similarly, PIA can offer Turkish passengers access to far east like Kuala Lumpur and Chinese cities. There is never any harm in looking for an out of the box solution.

    Also for critics of this “deal”: Turkey has been a time tested friend of Pakistan. Pakistanis have a lot of respect in Turkey. Just visit the immigration counters at Istanbul and you would see the welcoming nature of Turks towards Pakistan. Visit Topkapi Palace’s restaurant, you’ll be surprised of many pictures of Pakistani dignitaries proudly displayed. On the other hand, stop by at any Arab country airport, you’ll notice the difference.

    Pakistanis have become status quoists in general. We talk about change in daily lives but then a small change like this is to be questioned. Next we can see a suo-moto notice from our Supreme Court!Recommend

  • parvez
    Jan 15, 2011 - 4:34PM

    A small story seems relevant at this stage.
    Recently on a BBC TV show an airline industry expert (do not remember his name) renowned for turning loss making airlines around was asked ” Out of all the loss making airlines which one would you chose to turn around ?” He immediately answered ” PIA”. That shows that all the ingredients for a great airline is present. Its only the will that is lacking and the greed that is dragging it down.Recommend

  • Gulraiz Khan
    Jan 15, 2011 - 4:40PM

    To all those bemoaning the loss of national pride at not being able to fly to US or some cities in Europe, wake up to bitter global realities please. Most national airlines across Europe have either been privatised, or joined larger supra-national conglomerates. The middle eastern airlines, with their deep pockets and opaque finances, are giving all of them a run for their money. If left the way things are, sooner than later all that would be left of PIA would be a feeder service to Dubai, Abu Dhabi or Doha. Besides, I’d prefer a transit in a magnificent city like Istanbul than the gaudy monstoreity that is Dubai. I am all for this deal and ending the monopoly of gulf carriers at our airports and the pampering of PIA employees.Recommend

  • Jan 15, 2011 - 5:14PM

    Mr Pervaiz it was the owner of Virgin Airlines, who stated that he were to buy an airline, his choice would be PIA. The reason is PIA’s dedicated loyal ethnic traffic, which travels because it offers them direct flights freom Pakistan, to UK, USA, Canada, Gulf, Saudi Arabia, Europe etc. This benefit of PIA will be lost, if the MD has his way, which I think he will have. We can all cry about it, but this seems to be the unfortunate fate of PIA, as was the fate of Railways, Pak Steel mills, NICL, NHA etc etc etc. Recommend

    Jan 15, 2011 - 5:28PM

    I fully support this decision….Turkish Airlines is the member of Five-Star club -well known as the most prestigious aviation industry clubs in the world.

    Secondly, this airlines has over $6billion of revenue for the outgoing year 2009-10, which shows its growing clout in aviation industry. The airline has also ordered 90 more airplanes which will easliy cross well over 200+ mark.

    This decision will also increase tourism between the two countries, this will actually help Pakistan more as more europeans will come to Pakistan.

    This will also improve our relations with Turkey -the most important emerging power of its region which is ready to help Pakistan on all economic fronts like railways, air routes and roadlinks to improve our access to Europe through Iran.

    What these Arab Airlines have given to Pakistan or PIA???? nothing …we all know very well that how these airlines have made contacted with greedy officials in Pakistan and got concessions. Recommend

  • Nawaz Sharif
    Jan 15, 2011 - 5:32PM

    Very good decision.
    Board of governors, unions and pilots etc. are just pain for PIA as they just want to fullfill their greddiness.

    I will support this deal.Recommend

  • shahid
    Jan 15, 2011 - 6:43PM

    it is look like death warrent of PIA,PIA got reveneu due to only direct flights to USA and UK,Recommend

  • Shaam
    Jan 15, 2011 - 7:00PM

    It is a great decsion of Mr.ejaz haroon to save PIA.People of pakistan can not pay thier taxes any more to survive this white elephant.The way is to code share with other airlines.In this way PIA can also compete arab carriers.People of pakistan will also get rid of Arab carriers.My personal feelings are that Arab Carriers attitude to pakistani passegers is not good.They misbehave with Pakistani passengers.There is huge difference in prices of gulf carriers flight orignating from Pakistan from flights orinating from india.This is the only way we can give them tough competetation.THYhas 4 flights from Amsterdam to Istanbul everyday,three from Dusseldorf 2 from brussel,three from frankfurt.Inthis way we can have daily flight from Europe to Pakistan and get rid of PK twice weekly service.Recommend

  • Jan 15, 2011 - 7:01PM

    looks like a good business decision – suprised that PIA would be thinking like thisRecommend

  • isfandyar
    Jan 15, 2011 - 8:33PM

    I fully support this decision. Direct link to USA is sad but TK is by far
    A great airline and the deal (as long as their are daily flights to Istanbul) will help a lot.

    Is point Less and embarrassing to travel through the gulf.

    I just pray we keep the love between Turks and pakistanis going and no messes
    It up !

    Btw the food on TK is great! We should ban all arab airlines!!Recommend

  • Mommadin Boota
    Jan 15, 2011 - 9:08PM

    excellent well reasoned move by the president of PIA, hain ji. boota communty supports this desiyon. Recommend

  • Mir Agha
    Jan 15, 2011 - 9:32PM

    Can it really be that we have a person in a SOE that has a business-oriented mind and is adaptable to the fast changing realities of the aviation world? Great decision by PIA. Anyone that has an inkling into the aviation business knows this to be a sound decision.Recommend

  • shibli
    Jan 15, 2011 - 10:55PM

    PIA didn’t have direct flights to the US. PIA had three flights to the US, two to Chicago via Barcelona and one in New York via manchester. That too one had to first head to Lahore to catch a PIA plane for the US. Isn’t it? Recommend

  • Jan 15, 2011 - 11:21PM

    What PIA’s present management lacks is credibility. Karachi’s building and land mafia will tell you about the controversies that the MD and his family were involved in. Let PIA have a competent, qualified and honest management, who should decide these matters. Turk Hava Yollari is headed by an educated CEO, who was appointed by PM Erdogan. Aijaz Haroon was appointed by Asif Zardari and Yusuf Raza Gillani. The contrast between the two appointing set of people is like black and white. Mr Aijaz Haroon is doing to PIA, what Mr Moeen was tasked to do to Pak Steel Mills and what former Gen Javed Ashraf Qazi did to Pakistan Railways. God have mercy on Pakistan and its tax payers.Recommend

  • Jan 15, 2011 - 11:59PM

    Ask the Dolmen Group and they will tell u tales about the MD, which you will not believe. Allah have mercy on PIARecommend

  • Jan 16, 2011 - 12:28AM

    i am with this decision code share will bring many benefits to PIA/TK
    Turkish airlines customer service is million times better than PIA so are the interiors of their aircrafts.
    i flew with them last year and was very imprssed all the way
    better than british airways or singapore airlinesRecommend

  • Shaam
    Jan 16, 2011 - 1:06AM

    PIA has once a week flight from amsterdam to lahore.Twice weekly to islamabad.In case of emergency if some one wants to go Lahore there is no direct service and Emirates has 20hrs stay in Dubai.So it cause a lot of problem.With Turkish airlines we have four flights from Amsterdam to istanbul.and a daily connection istanbul to lahore will be good for pakistani comunity in europe.Recommend

  • MFS
    Jan 16, 2011 - 2:18AM

    Absolutely correct decision. It will stop black mailing of pilots, unions and other staff who were responsible for cancellation of many flights.

    Great Desicion. Recommend

  • Mirza
    Jan 16, 2011 - 3:05AM

    As a Pakistani American I have seen how the free loaders (PIA staff, family, friends, etc.) occupy the best seats in the upper classes. How the cronies are “upgraded” and how the tickets are blocked by their “favourite” travel agents especially in the busy season. While the tickets of the other airlines can be purchased via Internet and search engines PIA is run by middle management Mafia.

    Pakistanis must not forget how the PIA staff behaves and pretend that they are the owners of it and we are the beggars. If it is not making money and losing by bundles then any change is a good change. All flights of PIA from the US are full and the tickets are not easily available, yet it is always running in loss! How can it make money when the business and first class is full of free loaders?

    Best of luck against the inertia,

    H. MirzaRecommend

  • Jan 16, 2011 - 6:16AM

    I live in New York, U.S. and my relatives here and I always fly on PIA. We always chose PIA over other airlines because we want to support our Pakistani people and our beautiful Pakistan. Its a shame that PIA will no longer fly from New York. There are many Pakistanis living in New York who frequently visit Pakistan on PIA. Last time, I was scheduling my ticket to Pakistan, seats were all booked. PIA is very popular here. In the United States, PIA was available only in New York and Chicago now we have lost those 2 only destinations :(

    By the way, this is not good for PIA. JFK Airport in New York is one of the leading airport destinations in the world.Recommend

  • Salman
    Jan 16, 2011 - 7:48AM

    Gulf Airlines or any other airlines did not destroy PIA, Pakistanis destroyed PIA.
    Pakistanis immersed themselves in nepotism, hiring people not because of their merit but because of their ethnicity and linguistic affiliation, that destroyed PIA. Whether they enter into this agreement with Turkish Airlines or not, PIA is doomed to failure as all the corporate entities owned by the State are doomed to extinction. This is a doom and gloom prediction not to depress you but to encourage you to find out what we, as common citizens can do to reclaim our country back. PIA was one of the best airlines in the world when I flew on it. I refused to pay and be treated as a second class citizen on any airline. Recommend

  • Patriot
    Jan 16, 2011 - 8:10AM

    lets just close the airline and cut our losses! we will be soon traveling on donkeys anyway!Recommend

    Jan 16, 2011 - 9:13AM

    If other Air lines can do alliance for better business such as Emirates , Qatar Airways,Etihad, Air Canada. Why not PIA can do it.
    I would say Go PIA Go!Recommend

    Jan 16, 2011 - 9:19AM

    very good decisionRecommend

  • Jan 16, 2011 - 11:29AM

    Reference to Mr Abrar’s query as to who owns the Catering Firm based in UK, or The Maintenance Repair Overhaul firm in Dubai. He has himself answered this question. This explains why PIA has suffered further losses of over Rs 46 Billion during the tenure of Capt Aijaz Haroon, although PIA charges the same fares that are being charged by other international airlines going in a profit; It has declared a Load Factor which is more than these airlines: it buys fuel at the same international market rates that the other airlines are buying: Its administrative cost for salaries has shot up higher during the tenure of Mr Haroon, but still remains comprises only 19% of total cost, similar to other airlines. Obviously there are huge pilferages and massive kickbacks that have driven this airline into a loss making corporation. What was the need for changes made in General Sales Agencies and Ground Handling Contracts, which have back fired. One thing is very clear Mr Aijaz Haroon is part of the problem and cannot offer any solutions.Recommend

  • Farooq
    Jan 16, 2011 - 6:51PM

    Mr. Alvi,
    Great inside information on PIA. You might be even right about management etc, but why not to get airline privatized like most of world airlines are? That will take care of corrupt management, lazy and incompetent staff that will take care of overstaffing and defiantly will cut all these privileges given to employee and their families. Privatization will bring accountability to be profitable or otherwise they won’t be able to survive. Anything government owned business /department never makes money throughout the world. Not even in USA, UK or any other country. Recommend

  • FF
    Jan 17, 2011 - 2:38AM

    Finally someone that cares about PIA sitting at the top. He doesn’t make a penny through this deal for himself. The Turks cannot be accused of paying him off, as this is a win-win situation for PIA. The whole situation and deal makes way too much sense to be happening in a country like Pakistan, so I am 100% sure some idiot politician will screw it up. Solid attempt though.

    I saw someone post here earlier that he was just an O level graduate and wasn’t qualified to run the company as a result. All I have to say is that Bill Gates is a college drop out and he ran this little company you might have heard of called Microsoft in a billion dollar corporation. Do you want 50 other examples or will you repent and try to learn something?Recommend

  • Farah Khan
    Jan 17, 2011 - 2:54AM

    Its a disgrace…..that is happened.PIA should look at Pakistani national interests first..i know they are not doing so well finanical terms…….but it doesnt mean go into partnership outside..other airlines in Pakistan could have helped PIA , even Airblue may have expanded their routes.Its a shame it seems like we are sharing dealing everything from Pakistan to people outside..Recommend

    Jan 17, 2011 - 5:31AM

    A.S.A & HELLO,


    REGARDS. Recommend

  • Khurram
    Jan 17, 2011 - 7:56AM

    dont give up barcelonaaa pleaseeee!!!!!Recommend

  • hassan
    Jan 17, 2011 - 12:32PM

    brilliant strategic tie-up!Recommend

  • A Pakistani
    Jan 17, 2011 - 2:40PM

    Aviation business is under the tyrrany of cut-throat competition. However, PIA due to lack of aircrafts has no choice but to become a GSA for Turkish Airlines.

    Fifteen percent is better than nothing ! Good commercial decision.

    PIA pilots should stop behaving like son-in-laws of the national airline.Recommend

  • Rasheed
    Jan 17, 2011 - 5:09PM

    It is wonderful decision. People who know Aviation business know the benifits of such deals. I support this deal all the way and pray to Almighty Allah that He protects it from the greed of our politicians and especially the sifarshi and selfish employees.Recommend

  • Ali
    Jan 17, 2011 - 8:32PM

    Would this also put PIA in a better position for being privatised? Would it make it more attractive to prospective buyers? I think we should do things like this to help our organisations then we can privatise them so they are no longer a burden on our tax payers!Recommend

  • Waqar
    Jan 18, 2011 - 12:56AM

    Dont be scared of change people , we can run without uncle sam! And the world is round it doesnt end in the USA! Recommend

  • Ayesha
    Jan 18, 2011 - 3:22AM

    God bless PIA just look at the destinations which we are trading with TK
    PIA will hand over to Turkish Airlines its passengers from Pakistan to Frankfurt, Amsterdam, Milan, Barcelona, New York and Chicago after a stopover in Istanbul.
    Turkish Airlines would discontinue its flights to Dhaka, Colombo and Kathmandu and transfer its passengers for eastern destinations to PIA
    they say no pressure at all from ministry,aren’t they funny people!
    Totally agree with PATRIOTRecommend

  • Asif Ali
    Jan 18, 2011 - 8:36AM

    This deals looks very profitable for PIA but as ussual it could be against, Something definitely fishy its not that simple but we poor nation always knows at the end the real story after asuuing a happy ending.
    TV media should get the right information and make it clear for every one.Recommend

  • Tariq
    Jan 18, 2011 - 10:47AM

    Assalamo Allikum,
    After reading the whole story seemingly there is nothing harm and should not be so much criticized . However the cry of those would be justified whom personal interest would be pressed like pilots. Mr , Haroon being sincere to this home land we here by put all our moral support with you and we pray that may ALLAH bless you more firmness on this.

    Salmaan Siddiqi Sb,
    Please keep an aggressive follow up on this story and conclude it positively while bringing all side aspects of this story. We are with you.Recommend

  • liaqat
    Jan 18, 2011 - 7:08PM

    I fully support this decision.
    Pakistan Airline Pilots won’t be able to go to New York for free anymore along with their families to visit their child who studies there.Recommend

  • Pakistani-American
    Jan 19, 2011 - 7:48AM

    After reading everyone’s opinions, it surprises me that many fail to understand the positives that PIA held in US, Canada and Europe. It is no surprise that PIA gave out free tickets to its pilots and crew…well, don’t all pilots and crew from other airlines also get free tickets? From what I know, its only once a year perhaps.

    PIA in NY was very beneficial to the entire US and being a travel agent, most of the elderly and those with a language barrier preffered the airline because it goes directly into Pakistan, fares were competitive, less than Qatar but higher than Gulf. With Gulf, you have to go through 2 changes.

    For those of you remember, when PIA was flying out of Washington, each flight was full, why because fares were competitive and people liked having the option of going through Washington which meant more people could fly out of NY and not resort to other airlines.
    Well, PIA decides to shut down in Washington, why??? Each flight booked to capacity. So then people turn to other options. Well, when Qatar came into play, passengers preferred Qatar and were willing to pay MORE than PIA because of convienence. So when they switch to Turkey, people will still have the option of going through other airlines, reducing the people going on Turkey. People who currently went on Turkey were not happy with all the schedule changes and preferred, Qatar and Gulf.

    I hope for the sake of the name of Pakistan, PIA takes a look at the positives that it had brought to the US/Canada market and reconsider because it will just open doors and give a boost to the other airlines and sink PIA further.Recommend

  • khan
    Jan 21, 2011 - 1:11AM

    If PIA sells its JFK route, i will never fly PIA again simply because the only attractions for us in PIA is non-stop flights to Pakistan at least one way. People will prefer to use gulf airlines otherwise.

    Regarding greed of pilots, this is a silly argument. The whole management is greedy. If pilots of other airlines get the same benefits, why should PIA pilots be exempt from that? Besides, won’t these pilots be getting these benefits at Houston and other US and UK destinations? And off course PIA can simply cut these benefits to all destinations for its Pilots, would not it be more cost effective that way?

    If Mr. Haroon is so much capable of (innovations) like this, why was he not capable of reducing PIA losses in the past and who will guarantee that this deal will prove beneficial?

    Also the argument that people will get more destinations easily is also baseless. Most of Pakistanis live in New York and Europe. So PIA does not care about 75% full flights to JFK with 100% Pakistanis on it but will rather add 50 more other destinations with most probably 10% of Pakistani going to them. This is ridiculous that Turkish airline will keep benefit of other non-important destinations by selling tickets to other nationalities but PIA will give up its prime destinations will almost all Pakistanis that Turkish airline will never be able to accomplish that on its own. So basically a win win for Turkish airline and off course for PIA upper management in the form of kickbacks.Recommend

  • shahid
    Jan 24, 2011 - 12:20AM

    i have gone thru all of above comments,the people whom said Ejaz Haroon is sincere with this country and PIA,if he is sincere with counrty then why he shifted his total property from pakistan to UK Manchister? last week he handed over a report regarding PIA to Govt of Pakistan in which he mentioned PIA has overloaded by extra staff and having 430 person per aircraft whenever other airline have max.225 person per aircraft,if he is sincere why he confirmed or inducted more then 7000 staff in last year and going to confirm more then 3000 daily wages in few days,sorry sir he is sincere with his Big Bosses those have intrest in PIA Turkish deal which give them a big kick backsRecommend

  • Kaleem
    Jan 26, 2011 - 7:50PM

    I don’t think so it would be a great deal for pessengers. Can anyone tell me what will be the cost of the economy Ticket from Karachi to New York or Chicago after this deal? Currently Turkish Airlines is offering more expensive tickets than PIA for these destinations. I m sure people will only support this deal if they can get more cheaper tickets than the current ticket rates for Europe and US. But if they will get more costly tickets after this deal then this deal will be a Biggest Failure in PIA history. People will abondoned PIA and only choose Gulf Airlines to travel to Europe and US.Recommend

  • Abu Mahad
    Feb 9, 2011 - 12:45AM

    This is a good decision keeping in view the pathetic performance of the PIA. If I have a chance, I will never ever travel by PIA. The tickets are very expensive, crew is extremely unsophisticated and food and other services are bad. The PIA should be disbanded and all staff should be sent home. Instead, agreements can be made with other airlines to save costs and give facilities to the passengers. PIA serves no good and it is just a huge burden on national exchequer. Recommend

  • ayesha
    Feb 10, 2011 - 9:49AM

    PIA is suffering losses for quite long…selling it is no good for anyoneRecommend

  • Haroon
    Feb 10, 2011 - 10:11AM

    Having read the minutes of the meeting regarding PIA-Turkish join venture, my view is as under:

    First of all I may not be in the best position to comment on the agreement because I have no experience in airline marketing and was unable to understand many of the terminologies used in the agreement which a business man will be able to understand better. However item no 2 of the minutes mentions some destination in Europe and USA where PIA plans to suspend its flights. Whereas according to item no 5 (If I have understood correctly) PIA will operate 7 weekly frequencies between Istanbul and mutually agreed points in Europe under joint venture arrangement with THY, as additional or as replacement of THY’s already operated frequencies.

    If we cannot sustain our Europe destinations which we’ve been flying for years then how are we going to cope up with new destinations in Europe according to item no 5 of the minutes? (as mentioned above) PIA is based on Ethnic load, in these days when Pakistan has a bad name due to terrorism etc. who is going to travel by PIA other than Pakistanis themselves. Many Pakistanis have already shifted to Emirates and Etihad as we all know.

    Recently there was a large hue and cry about getting new airplanes indicating a policy of expansion whereas this agreement with Turkish airlines indicates a policy of contraction and diminution. Are the PIA policy makers professional enough and know what they are doing or they are just interested to make some sort of a deal with someone?

    If some routes are not profitable then what are the reasons? Has anybody worked out? Can it be attributed to non-professional attitude, honesty and over staffing of unqualified personnel or only the load factor has to be blamed?

    It is normal to shrink an organization rather than getting it bankrupt altogether but then it all depends upon the credibility of the policy makers. Is the credibility of PIA policy makers good enough to a level that they can be trusted? I don’t know the policy makers personally but the general impression in the airline about their credibility and honesty is very poor. The situation becomes more critical due to close ties of the policy makers with the present Government whose credibility is even worst.

    Considering PIA’s infrastructure and talent, in my honest opinion we just need to focus on two things: 1) Honesty and 2) Professionalism, rather than seeking ventures in this critical phase of time and conditions in which our country is passing through. Since I have no experience in aviation management (not that those who are managing it are very professional) I cannot really forecast whether this venture is going to click or not in favor of PIA. However if it does not! then it seems very obvious that PIA will be history.

    God Bless PakistanRecommend

  • Saifuddin Shaikh
    Feb 11, 2011 - 2:43AM

    Well.. I don’t see any harm in this deal. Like somebody said earlier that how the relatives of employees, politicians and influential people get all the business/first class seats and give a heavy loss to PIA every year. End of the day PIA is an organisation for doing business. It was not made for the welfare. Everybody wants to see it as a profitable organisation. How long we will be paying the tax payers money to run the airlines? We should not think in the best of the airlines and keep the self interest a side. I have been flying with both airlines and found Turkish better & cheaper than PIA. Beside some sectors, flying via gulf cities waste lots of time. Via Istanbul you get many connections for Europe and US. Turkish immigration and other airport staff is lot better than Gulf ground & airport staff. PIA staff is greedy and they are not thinking in the best interest of the airline. What more bad can happen to the airline if the loss has already reached to the alarming levels? Either, PIA should have an excellent service to catch the international passengers and make the profits, otherwise close all international routes, which are incurring heavy losses eery year. Recommend

  • I. Zubeir
    Mar 1, 2011 - 9:11AM

    Walaikum assalam WRWB
    yes indeed the opportunity is there however there is a visa requirement by Turkey which also has a fee.
    We love our Turkish brothers however this is not a good business decision to relinquish popular routes of PIA in the given manner, as far as US pressure is concerned there is no pressure at all accept the usual ones to maintain flying equipment in good order and to follow conventional requirements to verify travel documentation & visa of each passenger intending to come to USA and other associated formalities including security checks in place which is beneficial to all concerning parties.

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