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heavy downsizing in PIA to save billions of rupees a year

Interestingly, Qatar Airways had 46,000 employees for a fleet of 240 aircraft, Emirates 62,356 employees for 269 aircraft, Etihad Airways employed 21,530 people for 102 aircraft while PIA had 14,500 personnel for 29 aircraft.

ISLAMABAD: The top management of Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) is planning to reduce the ratio of employees per aircraft to save billions of rupees in the years ahead.

PIA has reduced the number of personnel with access to planes from 550 to 260, as per its ongoing reforms programme.

An official of the national flag carrier said that the airline would further reduce this number to 220 per aircraft in 2022.

PIA CEO Air Marshal Arshad Malik said that the reduction in the number of employees will save the airline up to Rs 8 billion a year. He added that the restructuring process would not compromise the quality and productivity of PIA facilities.

PIA officials said the reduction in workforce was down to the initiation of the Voluntary Separation Scheme (VSS), as well as the weeding out of fake degree holders and employees terminated on disciplinary grounds.

About 1,900 employees sought Voluntary Separation Scheme (VSS) while services of 837 individuals have been terminated for possessing fake degrees.

Furthermore, another 1,100 PIA employees have been sacked on disciplinary grounds.

In 2020, PIA had set itself a target of reducing the number of employees to 7,500-8,000 for 29 aircraft — more than 50% of the total strength — through the VSS programme and a segregation of core and non-core functions.

Meanwhile, PIA has recently submitted a report in the Supreme Court, wherein the management said the current strength of employees was 14,500 for a fleet of 29 planes in , compared to 31,000 employees working for a fleet of 329 aircraft at Turkish Airlines.

Interestingly, Qatar Airways had 46,000 employees for a fleet of 240 aircraft, Emirates 62,356 employees for 269 aircraft, Etihad Airways employed 21,530 people for 102 aircraft while PIA had 14,500 personnel for 29 aircraft.

In a recent press conference, Federal Minister for Aviation Ghulam Sarwar Khan had said that while the Covid-19 pandemic had taken its toll on airlines across the globe, PIA had increased its revenue and decreased operational expenditures.

He said PIA had inducted two new A320 aircraft in its fleet last year and four new A320s would be added to the fleet in mid-2022. Minister further said that six planes, including two 777s and four A320s, whose leases were set to expire, have been re-acquired on ownership basis.

Javed Mahmood
Written By

I am an experienced writer, analyst, and author. My exposure in English journalism spans more than 28 years. In the past, I have been working with daily The Muslim (Lahore Bureau), daily Business Recorder (Lahore/Islamabad Bureaus), Daily Times, Islamabad, daily The Nation (Lahore and Karachi). With daily The Nation, I have served as Resident Editor, Karachi. Since 2009, I have been working as a Freelance Writer/Editor for American organizations.

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