KARACHI: Workers to resist the proposed privatization of Pakistan International Airlines (PIA), warned Joint Action Committee of PIA Employees (JACPIAE) here Wednesday.
Zakir Farooq, Hidayatullah, Ubaidullah and other JACPIAE leaders addressing a press conference at Karachi Press Club (KPC) said the PIA is just not a national airline and national flag-carrier but a sensitive national asset, having the status of an icon in the national economy. They said in past some vested interests tried to damage the PIA in the shape of PK-TK agreement with the Turkish Airlines but this conspiracy was foiled.
They alleged that the government on the best of International Monetary Fund (IMF) is trying to privatize the PIA in the shape of selling it for peanuts in the shape of PIA-1 and PIA-2. They regretted that Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) in its election manifesto had promised to revive the past glory of PIA and to make it the best airline of the world, but after coming into power the PML-N government is trying to privatize this national asset.
They alleged that the present government is taking steps to damage PIA economically and administratively. In this regard the number of directors has been raised from 12 to 16. Blue eyed boys have been recruited as directors and general managers on fat salaries without giving any advertisement for their recruitment and following other procedural formalities.
They alleged that the marking department of PIA has been made ineffective. Useable airplanes of PIA were grounded and sold to junk dealers for peanuts. They said instead of getting airplanes of dry lease the management is obtaining them on wet lease. They said the way forward committee of representatives of PIA employees which was working voluntarily is not being allowed by the management to carry out its work.
They said the successive governments have to do failed fleet planning, route planning and manpower planning for PIA and such persons are giving task of planning who do relate to airline industry.
They said in the Gen Zia period DC-10 of PIA were sold and 747-200 with JT9D engines were bought, and their overhauling was given to Air France. The same managing director also bought Apple computers on very high rates. They said in the second tenure of Nawaz Sharif government five Jumbo 747-300 were purchased with poor technology-based Rolls Royce engines and the PIA sustained huge losses due to this working decision. They said in Pervez Musharraf period the PIA bought Boening-777 airplanes despite that fact that 18 A-330 planes could be purchased on same price. They said the Boening-777 airplanes have GE-90 engines which are overhauled out of the country. They said the PIA is still paying instalments of the 777 planes. They said in same Pervez Musharraf, ATR-42 planes were purchased despite the fact that better ATR-72 planes were available that were better substitute for Fokker planes. In the same period PIA got on lease A310 with PW-4000 engines despite the fact that the PIA had no setup for their repair and overhauling. It may be noted that PIA had been running 6 A310 planes with CF6-80Cs engines and the PIA had already possessed their engine repair and overhauling setup.
They blamed that the open sky policy of Mian Nawaz Sharif devastated the PIA. They said if anywhere an open sky policy is adopted it is based on reciprocal basis, but our rulers gave very profitable routes of PIA to Qatar, Gulf and Emirates without any bargaining and reciprocal arrangements.
They said the previous government tried to give the best profitable routes of PIA to Turkish Airline but the PIA workers protested and foiled this conspiracy.
They said that PIA is operating on those routes inside Pakistan that are not profitable, but the PIA is continuing them on loss to show the national unity; however, the private airlines are only operating on profitable routes inside Pakistan.
They alleged that the vested interests are damaging the interests of PIA deliberately to fail it and subsequently privatize it. They said the rulers wanted to sell out precious assets of PIA including Roosevelt and Scribe hotels. They said the PIA workers would not allow the rulers to private the national flag carrier at any cost. They also asked the rulers to tell the nation what benefit the nation and country got by privatizing 169 government-run entities in past.