PIA’s several flights cancelled, delayed amid liquidity crisis

National flag carrier seeks emergency bailout to save flight operations from suspension

By
Afzal Nadeem Dogar
Crew members disembark from a Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) flight at Kabul Airport, Afghanistan, September 13, 2021. — AFP
Crew members disembark from a Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) flight at Kabul Airport, Afghanistan, September 13, 2021. — AFP

  • PIA's top official warned of suspension if emergency funds not provided.
  • Several domestic, international flights cancelled. 
  • National flag carrier faces serious cash flow problems. 


KARACHI: Pakistan International Airlines (PIA), which is facing serious cash flow problems, cancelled several domestic and international flights.

A top official of the national flag carrier earlier told Geo News that that flight operations are feared to be suspended by September 15 (today) if emergency funds are not provided. 

On August 12, a number of domestic flights to and from Karachi were cancelled due to a shortage of funds and the failure to pay Pakistan State Oil (PSO) for fuel supply.

According to the Jinnah International Airport schedule today, PIA flights from Karachi to Bahawalpur (PK588 and PK589) and Karachi to Lahore (PK302 and PK303) have been called off.

Karachi to Islamabad flight (PK368) has been delayed for three hours while Karachi to Lahore (PK304) is delayed by eight-and-a-half hours. 

PIA flights to and from Karachi and Rahim Yar Khan (PK582 and PK583) were cancelled while Karachi to Multan (PK330) and Dubai (PK213) were delayed by two hours. 

Other than that, the flight from Islamabad to Karachi (PK301) is cancelled, Islamabad to Riyadh (PK753) is delayed by three hours and Lahore to Karachi (PK305) is delayed by two-and-a-half hours.

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 Federal Board of Revenue of Pakistan (FBR) froze 13 PIA bank accounts due to non-payment of Rs8 billion in FED.