Articles of the year 2006

The Downward Spiral
Published on November 15th, 2006

The news about PIA gets more alarming daily. We have become accustomed to the losses incurred by the National carrier, and the constant request to the Federal Government for a bailout. This has been going on from the Bhutto days almost 35 years ago. However the latest reports are far more serious. These highlight the lack of quality maintenance and the fact that the European Union and the FAA of the US has seen fit to deny access to our 747 aircraft on these grounds. This would have been preposterous under any circumstances, but we have seen three MDs changed, some with no knowledge of Aviation, most without any management skills. To be the CEO of the largest Oil company in Pakistan does not automatically translate into a good man manager. This company is known to be the largest member of a cartel which is even more brutal and uncaring as OPEC itself. Profits alone are not the yardstick in this field, for it is now emerging that the price fixing in the Oil companies was tantamount to deliberate manipulation, at the expense of 150 million people, all of whom were hostage to the dictates of the three sisters here. The MD of Shell was given the task of revamping CAA, which obviously was well out of his reach, and the Airports throughout Pakistan were being issued notices by IATA for substandard Radar performance. This could lead to Pakistani Airports being blacklisted by International Carriers. Surely a first for our Aviation industry, or any other for that matter! It is indeed a pity that having attained Nuclear prowess we are being relegated to the bottom of the ladder in the application of Aviation technology, ie our airports are not fit for foreign carriers. Shame indeed. I would like to hear the newly inducted DG CAA explain his departmental position on this one.

Pakistan was indeed fortunate that we had the services of Nur Khan, Asghar Khan, Enver Jamal, and Zafarul Ahsan. These gentlemen were responsible for putting PIA on the map, and indeed assisted many other airlines such as Air Malta, and believe it or not Singapore Airlines. Emirates Airlines was launched courtesy an Airbus loaned to Emirates from PIA, with a PIA crew, and now we watch the expansion of Emirates from city to city, while our dear PIA's routes are shrinking by the day.