KARACHI: The Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) will continue its flight operations to the United States, the airlines spokesperson said on Sunday.
“We are currently running two flights to New York every week and this is going to continue until a formal decision is taken,” Mashood Tajwar told The Express Tribune. He, however, said the national flag carrier was seriously mulling to devise an effective strategy to minimise the expenses for running the US-bound flights.
Replying to a question, Tajwar said due to the requirements by the US authorities the New York-bound flights have to make a short stopover in Manchester to clear the necessary security checks.
The spokesperson agreed that the “economic viability” was one of the major reasons the airline was facing issues in continuing the flight operations to the US. “Rest of the reasons are minor,” he said, adding that a decision would be taken in a day or two but there was no truth behind the news of discontinuation of the flight operations.
When pressed upon the question whether the airline will continue running flights to New York, Tajwar said it was premature to say anything about it. “If there is any such thing we will inform in a day or two.”
He also denied reports of possible retrenchment in the national flag carrier, saying no layoffs have been made. “Neither was it ever done in the past despite heavy losses nor will it be done now,” he explained.
The spokesperson went on to say that transfers and postings of staff based on the requirements and need of the job are a routine matter and must not be confused with the retrenchment.
According to the PIA’s financial statement for up to September 2016, the airlines’ total liabilities have mounted to Rs349 billion as against only Rs113.8 billion assets. The losses of the national flag carrier are rising with each passing day.
The ruling party, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, which came into power in 2013, has from time to time stressed on restructuring loss-making state-owned entities. The PIA privatisation was also among the government’s plans before massive protests that turned violent resulted in the authorities making a tactical retreat from its endeavour.