Wednesday, September 13, 2023
KARACHI: Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) is on the verge of collapse as a top official of the national flag carrier has warned that flight operations are feared to be suspended by September 15 if emergency funds are not provided, Geo News has learnt.
Speaking to Geo News on Wednesday, a senior director of the national flag carrier said the number of operational planes had been reduced to 16 from 23 which led to the cancellation of several flights.
The official said aircraft manufacturers — Boeing and Airbus — have also suspended spare parts supplies to the PIA over non-payment and the national airline was incurring losses worth millions of rupees daily due to limited flight operations.
The official also revealed that a PIA plane was stopped at Dammam airport while another four at Dubai airport over failure to pay for fuel.
The planes were allowed to leave on written assurance of the PIA, the official said, adding that the International Air Transport Association (IATA) restored PIA services after an emergency payment of $3.5 million was made.
The official warned that flight operations may be suspended by September 15 if Rs23 billion were not provided in emergency funds.
Meanwhile, a PIA spokesperson said in a statement that all-out efforts were being made to save the flight operations from suspension.
A day earlier, sources told Geo News the PIA flight operations were severely affected due to a shortage of funds with a number of domestic and international flights being cancelled.
The insiders said the national flag carrier had requested the government for immediate provision of funds.
Moreover, the sources said the PIA employees had also not been paid their salaries as well.
PIA's financial woes
On September 7, the PIA had said it grounded five out of its 13 leased aircraft with further prospect of grounding four additional planes due to the prevailing financial crunch.
The PIA had asked for an emergency bailout of Rs22.9 billion which was rejected by the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC).
The ECC also rejected the request for deferment of the payments of Rs1.3 billion per month, which PIA pays to FBR against FED and Rs0.7 billion per month which PIA pays to the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) against embarking charges.
The airline had also warned that Boeing and Airbus might suspend the supply of spare parts by mid-September.
Last month, the FBR froze 13 PIA bank accounts due to non-payment of Rs8 billion in FED.