Those who blame PM Nawaz Sharif and his government for the failure of PIA need to realise that the decline of the airlines started in 2002, when, in spite of escalating oil prices, PIA’s balance sheet indicated minimal losses. The corruption infected vultures, who, through their networking and political contacts, had, by 2008, cunningly managed to be nominated as the MD of PIA and the DG of CAA Pakistan, were the main reason for this decline. This government can only be blamed for not having political will to appoint qualified and experienced executives, but not for the over Rs230 billion accumulated losses it inherited and the corrupt mediocrity that dominated its executive corridors.
By the time the PML-N-led government took charge of PIA, all prime time slots in the Gulf had been surrendered to the advantage of the airlines owned by Gulf states. Almost half of the PIA fleet was grounded because of gross irregularities in the procurement of essential technical spares, while its human resource, which was once its asset, was eroded by burdening the already surplus employees of this loss making white elephant with over 300 employees with fake degrees. PIA’s GSAs and GHAs all over its network were changed and replaced by parties with dubious background. Having purchased long range aircraft like B777, it was shocking when, in the garb of code sharing, the airline was to be reduced to become a spoke carrier of Turkish Airline which took over all its routes to Europe, America and even key sectors in Far East. PIA has lost millions of dollars in paying more than current market prices for the lease of aircraft and in the induction of B777, A320, etc. The reason for this huge loss is not the present government, but the greed of PIA’s top executives.