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PIA fires over 1,500 employees recruited on forged documents

By Mohammad Asghar 2021-10-14
RAWALPINDI:PakistanInternational Airlines (PIA) has fired over 1,500 employees recruited on forged documents. The airline is also simplif ying and reforming its human resource processes by inducting e-PIA workers portal.

This was revealed during a meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on Aviation held under the chairmanship of Senator Hidayatullah at the Old PIPS Halls, Parliament Lodges, on Wednesday.

Aviation Minister Ghulam Sarwar Khan also attended the meeting The committee was informed that PIA had suffered Rs67.4 billion losses in 2018.

It was further told that in 2020, Rs94,989 million revenue was generated and operational losses were Rs680 million.

The committee was also informed that Covid-19 had hit the market with nearly 60pc of operations coming to a halt.

The PIA representative said the airline recovered $412 million from airbus which was not pursued by previous regimes and also resolved a claim of $4 million with Air Asia.

The airline is also enhancing tourism by introducing new routes to Gilgit from Lahore, Karachi, Faisalabad, Sialkot and Multan and also launched Air Saf ari Flight in partnership with Shangri-La Hotels for diplomats.

The committee was told that PIA wasinducting a simulator to reduce training cost as an initiative for 2022 and 2023, and also implementing Engineering MRO projects mostly for commercial activities.

The matter regarding a PIA-owned property in New York, was also discussed in the meeting, however, the airline officials requested an in-camera meeting on the property.

The PIA officials put it on record that the property had not been taken over nor attached by anyone and the case was under trial and no final decision had been announced as yet.

The ban imposed by the European Union on PIA was also discussed, with the airline of ficials saying that a delay in lif ting of the ban was due to delay in the audit by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) The ICAO had announced the audit in July 2021 which was postponed due to Covid-19.

The ICAO has now announced that the audit would be conducted f rom Nov 29 to Dec 10 and resumption of flights to the European Union will take place after the validation audit.

The PIA of ficials said it was a national agenda and requested the committee to send recommendations in this regard to the government.

The committee also discussed PPRA rules, which causes delay in the procurement of aircraft.

It was of the view that either the PPRA rules may be amended or such a methodology be adopted in consultation with the PPRA to avoid any delay in aircraft procurement.

`PIA will never get a plane if they follow the PPRA rules,` said Senator Saleem Mandivawalla. `It is not only for aircraft but also for engines andcargo,` he added.

The committee was also informed that flights from Peshawar to Lahore had been restored twice a week from this month. The flights from Islamabad to Malaysia have also been restored which were earlier discontinued due to nonpayment of lease dues.

With regard to non-implementation of the recommendation of the harassment of a female officer by the then special assistant to PIA chief executive officer, the PIA of ficials explained that he would be repatriated to his parent department if they get a decision of the Supreme Court in this regard.

Minister for Aviation Ghulam Sarwar Khan assured the committee that its recommendations would be implemented and the official would be repatriated before the next meeting.

The committee was informed the scrutiny of all available records of 262 pilots had taken place. The federal cabinet cancelled 50 pilots` licences except for seven which were in court. Licences of 32 pilots were suspended for a period ranging from six to 12 months (barring 11 court cases). Besides, 42 pilots violated FDTL which were dealt with in accordance with regulations.

The committee was informed that based on data in corroboration with airlines, remaining licences were found to be valid.

The committee was further told that the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) initiated disciplinary proceedings against six employees on charges of facilitating pilots to appear through proxies, conduct of exams on unscheduled date and time and on public holidays and after office hours. Two employees were under suspension and four were dismissed on the decision of the cabinet.