PIA in total mess

The government that was accusing the media of playing up reports about mismanagement and corruption in PIA, would have realised the enormity of the crisis when on Tuesday the airlines’ various associations notably the Pakistan Airline Pilots Association (PALPA) stood up against the proposal to sell PIA’s lucrative routes to a Turkish airline. Sixty pilots have gone on sick leave, obviously as a mark of protest. As a result, dozens of international and domestic flights had to be cancelled, causing great inconvenience to passengers. At different stations, a number of people were injured in scuffles between supporters of MD Aijaz Haroon on the one side and PALPA and other staff members of PIA on the other. The situation was no less chaotic at Benazir Bhutto International Airport in Rawalpindi where, with the failure of the Airport Security Force and riot police to calm things down, Rangers had to be deployed as a last resort. Keeping in view the disruption of flight schedule, the fallout is sure to register its impact and aggravate the ongoing financial losses. Most important, the turmoil will come as a bombshell for the confidence of passengers who would now naturally be inclined not to choose an airline that plays havoc with their precious time and travel plans. PIA has literally taken a nose dive in terms of governance and management. It is little wonder that a large number of protestors were demanding the sacking of PIA’s MD. His decision to fire eight pilots ostensibly over charges of misconduct came as a blessing in disguise for the protesters as it proved to be the catalyst for countrywide demonstrations and finally drew the attention of the leadership about the sorry state of affairs in the national flag carrier. The PALPA has indicated that it would continue with its protests until its demands are met. The government intervention has now become mandatory. And rather than sending more contingents of Rangers, the protestors’ grievances must be redressed – Nation