No plans to privatize PIA – Ishaq Dar

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ISLAMABAD, Dec 20 (APP): Finance Minister Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar Sunday said the PML-N government has no plans whatsoever to privatize the national flag carrier Pakistan International Airlines (PIA).
He said the government, in fact, only intends to seek a strategic partner for the airline and added efforts would be made to invite credible and reputed international strategic partners to the extent of 26%, in only the core business of PIA.
The process of selecting the strategic partners would be carried out ensuring complete transparency, he said in a statement issued here.
The Finance Minister said there will be no layoffs in PIA and the employees would continue their jobs and careers without any change in their normal terms and conditions of employment.
He said even if a strategic partner for the airline could not be found, the government remained committed to ensuring that PIA regained its lost glory in the shortest possible time.
The PML-N government, the Minister emphasized, actually initiated the restructuring exercise for PIA immediately after assuming office in June 2013.
As a result of government’s efforts, there has been a visible improvement in the overall working of the airline, he added.
He said number of operational aircraft available with PIA has increased from 18 in June 2013 to 38 at present. This figure will rise to 40 by the end of this month, he added.
Similarly, the average aircraft age has been reduced from 14 years to 9 years and the government is aiming to bring it further down to 6 years, he said.
In addition, he said, the on-time performance of PIA has improved to 82% which is comparable with the top Middle Eastern airlines.
He said the Ordinance issued by Government recently was aimed at freeing the PIA management from government control and enabling it to take its decisions promptly and independently in a transparent manner in the best interests of the company and ensuring early implementation of those decisions.
As the same time, conversion of PIA from a corporation to a company will ensure higher protection to all shareholders which will increase investor confidence, leading to higher investment in the company, he added.
PIA, he said, will now follow the Code of Corporate Governance which will help create a better environment for the management by reducing legal problems and chances of fraud.
All this will ultimately lead to availability of better human resource and healthier financial position, thereby ensuring more aircraft, more routes and better services for PIA’s customers.
The Minister reiterated that, with concerted efforts, PIA will Inshallah, regain its past glory.
He also expressed the confidence that all its employees would put in their best to help ensure that PIA achieved international service standards.