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PIA financial restructuring in the final stages

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PIA financial restructuring in the final stages
Airline CEO says efforts for improvement have started yielding results


Our CorrespondentNovember 20, 2020



LAHORE:
Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) Chief Executive Officer Air Marshal Arshad Malik has assured that the financial restructuring of the national flag carrier is well on its way and things would be finalised soon.
“We do have a few options to settle the mounting debt issue of PIA,” Malik said during his visit to the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industries (LCCI) on Thursday.
“One of the options is to issue investment bonds; the other is debt-equity swap,” he said, adding, “The third option we have is that the government can take some of PIA’s assets against the loans to clear our balance sheet, which is already guaranteed by the government.”
Malik stated that a final meeting is expected to be held within 10 days and it is expected that this issue will be settled.
The CEO said that despite the Covid-19 outbreak and other challenges, efforts for improvement have started yielding results. He highlighted that PIA’s revenue has increased and shown gross profit during the months of September and October.
Shedding light on the losses incurred, he said the open sky policy has caused huge loss to PIA. “However, financial restructuring of PIA is well on the way and would be finalised soon,” he added.
The official further said the cargo space utilisation of the airline has been increased and Boeing 777 aircraft can be used for cargo transportation.
Malik said PIA is focusing on profitable routes based on demand prospects and commercial viability. He went on to say that unlike the past, all business decisions were now made collectively and there was no political intervention.
The CEO said that no planning or upgrade has been made in the past for in-flight entertainment and passengers’ comfort onboard and mentioned that a system is being planned for convenience of passengers during long flights.
Talking about expanding international routes, Malik said that PIA is almost there for New York and Chicago route, but due to Covid-19 and licensing issue, they are facing some delay.
He further added that the company is also in talks with China, seeking permission for some other major cities like Shanghai and Guangzhou. “Currently, Chinese authorities are allowing PIA to fly to Beijing only,” he pointed out.
Highlighting the fake license issue, the CEO said, “This is the duty of the regulator to fix such issues, we as an operator cannot fix such issues, however, we do highlight such matters.”
Published in The Express Tribune, November 20th, 2020.
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