Pakistan Civil aviation is lagging in pacing with modern threat recognition. Once the air travel was associated with opulence and had a romantic flavor in Pakistan but now it has all the hallmarks of a blockbuster action thriller of an aircraft standing at the verge of jeopardy dead trying to survive an aviation apocalypse, bird striking and starving of fuel. The administrative problems of PIA have once again become a hot topic of discussion after the PK 8303 crash.
Currently, three airlines are operating flights in Pakistan. PIA, Air Blue, and Serene Airlines. PIA, the national carrier, is most adversely stricken, raising many concerns for Government. PIA had 37 accidents over the tenure of its 73 years life with 12 fatal crashes. Despite the fact, the PIA fleet comprises notch commercial aircraft including Boeing 777 and Airbus A320.
Accidents are occurring at a fast pace because of its dwindling safety standards. The flight operation of PIA was banned by the European Union in 2007. According to 5th airline ranking published by air help, PIA was ranked the world’s 5th worst airline out of 56 airlines. Since then, propitious steps were taken to ensure sustainability. Safety and security measures are not given their due values, and no one is seeking out of box solutions. Instead, those security measures are emphasized which are inadequate to cope with the 21st-century threats to aviation.
If we reminisce we come to know that PIA holds some world records of longest overhaul and fastest flight but then PIA succumbed to an abyss of bureaucratic corruption and bribery. No one is even held accountable for this downfall In retrospect the former chairman of PIA launched his own private airline “Air blue” which is thriving even after a fatal air crash in 2010. Last year National Accountability Bureau (NAB) filed a case over money laundering, but all those accused are still at large. The Federal Government appoints the CEO of PIA and thus is a political option. A German national Bernd Hildebrand was once designated as CEO and was accused of having sold an airbus A310 for 14 million dollars to Germany.
Hence PIA’s catastrophic decline can be traced to three leading causes’ financial embezzlement, Political interference, and unionism. In politics, merit is always overlooked for personal gains and favouritism. A chauvinist government officer backs all the unions of PIA for managing and inculcating respective employees. All transfers, postings, appointments, and promotions are based on political relations. The current federal minister of aviation held a degree in agriculture and was a former minister of petroleum. Hence, Nepotism remains an upfront for National carrier PIA. CAA reports alleged that five pilots of PIA had not even passed matric and educational credentials of 28 employees lacked credence. Still, many PIA key post holders lack operational pertinence and competence.
According to the audit report of FIA, PIA suffered 44 billion Pakistani rupees back in 2017, 67 billion in 2018. It rebounded in revenue in 2019 but was still in loss of 54 billion and the tragic crash of “PK 8303” has brought back down in dumps. The Government is now looking to privatize this airline since all these past accidents and frauds have rendered the Government ineligible to maintain its operating cost. This seems like the last resort to keep it up with modern aviation. Privatization has mostly benefited the respective organization since anything the owner of a private company does at his peril. All the private airlines of the company like Serene Air and Air blue are profit-making, and as of now, a new private airline is being launched with the name of AIRSIL. If civil aviation was not profited business, then no one in an underdeveloped country like Pakistan would be launching its airline. Earlier Government launched a scheme to privatize six major public sector entities same can be done with PIA, and thus Government can expect billions of non-tax revenue.