Prime Minister forms body to finalise PIA’s financial plan

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has constituted a committee to finalize the financial plan of Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) after the national flag carrier management requested finances to procure 13 new aircraft, sources said. 

Sources told Business Recorder that members of the committee are Secretary Finance, representatives of PIA, aviation as well as secretary aviation and secretary to the prime minister to give a report within 15 days.

When contacted, Mhyuddin Ahmed Wanti, Joint Secretary Prime Minister’s media office stated that Finance Minister Ishaq Dar was also directed to look into the financial requirements of PIA for the next two years as these aircraft would be procured in a staggered period of two years.

However, he said that he was not aware of any discussion of going ahead with agenda to privatize PIA. He said he was not aware as to how much finances were sought by the PIA as prime minister did not allow them to make their presentation in financial plan.

On Tuesday, the prime minister chaired a meeting to review overall performance of PIA for last six months. The PIA chairman gave a comprehensive presentation to the participants of the meeting and told them that a significant enhancement in revenue was registered.

The meeting was informed that passengers uplift registered a total increase of 26.7 percent while capacity of the Airline registered an increase of 17.3 percent. Domestic market share of PIA has significantly increased and performance of the Cargo in terms of revenue has also enhanced satisfactorily.

According to him, he plans to increase the existing strength of aircraft, ie, 37 to 50 by March 2018. PIA, he said was in dialogue with Airbus for new aircraft and plans to induct seven brand new wide body and ten narrow body aircrafts.

Sources said that wide body aircrafts would be for premier flights- international while narrow body aircrafts would be used for domestic flights

Prime Minister also reviewed the progress on the New Islamabad Airport and was given briefing on the progress of work on the expansion of Allama Iqbal International Airport Lahore. The prime minister directed for expediting the expansion work and removing bottlenecks.

The premier also directed to complete the link road project from Rawalpindi to New Islamabad Airport by March 2017. The National Highway Authority was directed by the prime minister to monitor the quality of work on the link road project according to the required standards.

Finance minister, Secretary Finance Dr Waqar Masood Khan and other senior government officials were also present in the meeting. –Business Recorder