PIA’s business plan and other fairy tales


‘Meray aziz hum watno’, rejoice and make merry. The print media informs us that PIA has ‘unveiled’ a strategy to restructure the airline. We can be forgiven for saying, ‘about time’, as we eagerly scan the columns of print to see the bright future which awaits us. What are the components of Mr Ahmed Mukhtar’s business plan? Does he really have a plan for PIA’s business? Were we wrong in assuming that his business plans are aimed at enhancing his personal fortunes only? A leading English language newspaper reports, “According to the (business) plan, strengthening the culture of ethics and compliance was the key to success to control costs and to improve the financial health of the corporation”.
We couldn’t agree more. In other words, theft, nepotism, inefficiency and a lack of commitment and loyalty to the organisation are the root causes of PIA’s ills. Whether it is lucrative appointments such as GSAs (General Sales Agents), contracts for purchase of spares, leasing of aircrafts etc., everyone; from the Chairman at one end of the spectrum to the lowest rung involved in pilferage of toiletries and foodstuffs, seems to be doing his bit to destroy the airline. But if Mr Ahmed Mukhtar’s ‘plan’ is built upon the pious hope of suddenly injecting a ‘culture of ethics’, pray let us know how he will perform this miracle. He could, of course, start with himself, which would be a good beginning. But what about the 18000 PIA employees who have collectively done their bit to bring PIA to the verge of collapse.
Exactly one year ago, a story about PIA appeared in these columns. It told the tale of a committee appointed by the then PIA Chairman to propose the way forward for PIA. The committee concluded that, in essence, PIA’s problem was mismanagement and lack of professionalism. The column concluded with the words, “giving PIA the bailout it is seeking will be a criminal waste of public money, particularly since nothing except the fortunes of PIA’s top management will change. There is still time to pull out the privatisation proposals from the archives and do this nation a favour by taking a decision which will be good for the airline and good for the travelling public”.
But let us go back to Mr Ahmed Mukhtar’s business plan. A second pillar is “to control costs. “ We must look at this noble resolve in the context of the rather inconvenient fact that costs as a percentage of total revenue are on an increasing trend ever since 2003 and particularly over the three years during which Mr. Mukhtar has been lord and master of PIA. The third good resolution has been described as “aggressive marketing for revenue generation which will help double revenue generation in five years.” Give me a break Chairman, we know all about PIA’s aggressive marketing. In any case, why have you chosen to desist from aggressive marketing since you took over as Chairman in 2008?
The fact of the matter is that PIA just cannot become viable if it continues to remain in government control. It has a history of pie-in-the-sky plans and presentations to gullible governments which only results in billions in tax payer’s money being poured down the drain. In other words, during the three years period of the present government and the present Chairman, PIA has lost more than one billion US dollars. In the face of this stark reality, how does PIA expect us to swallow their juvenile assurances that they can turn everything around in the next five years. If we fall for this confidence trick, all that will happen is that the Chairman and his merry men will continue to have a rollicking good time at the expense of the airline for as long as they last. Then they will make way for the next bunch of conmen to present another “ business plan ” to secure a few good years for themselves.


  1. In past Ahmed Saeed had a similar business plan w/o any feasibility, and it resulted in the $3.5 billion odious loan (public) to acquire the B777s. There wasn't a feasibility, it was said, because the 'plan' was based on Chairman's vision!

    Can Ahmed Mukhtar best his brother's record?

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