KARACHI: Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) Chairman Air Chief Marshal (R) Rao Qamar Suleman has termed the carrier a big organisation where efforts to achieve a turnaround in fortunes will take at least one year to show results.
“I do not have a magic wand to turn around a big organisation like PIA in a few months. Our efforts will give you concrete results in at least one year,” said Suleman, who joined PIA around two months ago.
He was talking to the media at a seminar on ‘Challenges for Aviation Safety in Pakistan and South Asia’ here on Thursday. The PIA-sponsored seminar was attended by former employees of the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), PIA and leading experts of the aviation industry.
“PIA has taken 20 to 25 years to reach this position where it is today, so it will take some time to recover what it has lost in the last few decades,” he said in response to a question. “PIA is not a hopeless case and it will bounce back due to its strong and trained workforce.”
Discussing the airline’s fleet improvement programme, Suleman said PIA would take on lease six or seven aircraft and the process would be completed in three to four months.
“Pakistan needs safety experts in the aviation industry as aviation safety is a relatively new field of study,” he said while referring to the plane crashes in the past two years.
He stressed that PIA would continue to support all efforts to ensure aviation safety and put special emphasis on training of human resource to enhance awareness of safety issues.
In his speech, Pakistan Airline Pilots Association (Palpa) President Captain Suhail Baloch asked the government to establish an independent transportation safety board having representatives from PIA associations like Palpa, SAEP and ATC Guild.
Other experts, while sharing their thoughts on the occasion, underlined the need for focusing on aviation safety in Pakistan, which has faced major accidents in a short span of two years.
They said Pakistan had a culture of secrecy that discouraged publishing of detailed reports on aviation accidents. They specifically pointed to Airblue (2010) and Bhoja Air (2012) aircraft crashes and asked the government to make public all investigation reports on the two incidents.
Endorsing public perception that investigations into aviation incidents are weak and delayed, they said most of the time insecurities, secrecy, political interference and vested interests hindered investigations in many countries and Pakistan was no different from them.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 22nd, 2012.