Last resort?: Improve services or face privatisation, minister tells PIA

Ahsan Iqbal says govt will not let airline employees take passengers hostage .

Peer Muhammad July 08, 2013


Federal minister for planning and development warned Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) of dire consequences including ‘privatisation’ if it failed to improve its services.

Ahsan Iqbal stated this on his return from China at the Benazir International Airport where he was witness to chaos and mismanagement leading passengers to complain about the services of the national carrier.

Iqbal said that while waiting at the customs he saw officials giving VIP protocols. “Being a minister if I can stand in the queue then why VIP protocol to some people,” he questioned rhetorically.

He said that he would take the matter up with the authorities concerned and urge them to take action against acts of sheer negligence. “Everyone knows that PIA is one of the country’s overstaffed organisations, but there is no service,” he pointed out.

“We cannot allow a few thousand PIA employees to hold passengers hostage. We have to seriously think over some options, including privatisation of the airline to improve its service standard,” he said.

Talking to The Express Tribune Iqbal added that PIA had become a welfare organisation only for its employees, whereas the passengers faced problems due to its deteriorating standards. “I have warned them to either improve their services or be ready to face other options,” said Iqbal, adding that employees of the national carrier and their families enjoyed many privileges including free tickets but their contribution in terms of providing better services has been disappointing.

“PIA management should take initiative to improve its service standard to bring it at par with other international airlines”.

PIA, incurring a loss of billions of rupees every year, faces criticism from all quarters for its falling service standards despite receiving a huge chunk of funds from the national exchequer and ranking among one of the overstaffed organisations.

The federal minister said the government will no more tolerate the humiliating attitude of the PIA staff meted out to passengers or below par services provided during travel time. He took note of the luggage of passengers, arriving from Skardu and Karachi, being misplaced.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 8th, 2013.


H Chaudhry | 10 years ago | Reply

Discounted Travel and Free Travel are two different things! That said, weather minister has short memory or not, Government must not and should no run any business like PIA. It is a business and should be run by those who can make money out of it! Privitization will bring a major layoff of any one who cant contribue. Sorry but this has to happen, Government cant keep feedings people and their families. They need to either work or let go, period and it will only happen if some one who wants to make profit will run a company.

GrandSlam | 10 years ago | Reply

Airline all over the world offer free and discounted travel to their employees and dependants,its nothing unique to PIA..Perhaps u have never seen the way employees travel.They normally travel on jump seats or are usually the last to board when all other passengers have boarded and there are some vacant seats in the plane..Its so unfortunate that the same succesive governments who are responsible for the demise of this once top airline are now finding an easy escape route by putting the blame on its work force i do agree thar there are large number of black sheep in PIA but these are normally the people who have been hired on political basis. Honourable minister has a very short memory rather,he along with hamza shahbaz after arriving at lahore from islamabad after getting a very warm welcome from their cronies forced fully embarked on one of the passenger busses while forcing the other female passengers out of it. Islamabad airport is the most chaotic airport i have ever seen and on arrival its usually caused by the customs and the immigration.

Replying to X

Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive.

For more information, please see our Comments FAQ