Pia chief orders execution of cost-cutting measures

Oct 8, 2013 | News

KARACHI: Aviation Secretary and Acting Chairman PIA, Muhammad Ali Gardezi, has ordered the immediate implementation of measures identified by the Way Forward” committee to ensure revenue enhancement and cost curtailment at the ailing national airline.

The “Way Forward” committee, formed to rejuvenate the national flag carrier, conducted its first marathon session with PIA management last week with DMD Engineering Qasim Masood leading the session.

The committee identified and recommended measures that only needed the issuance of directives and would result in saving worth Rs1 billion. Gardezi appreciated the committee’s work and asked the committee to recommend “out of the box” solutions to reduce expenses in operations without compromising safety. The acting chairman PIA also approved 14 proposals submitted by the committee and requested further information on six other proposals.

He emphasised improvement in the airline’s co-branding efforts, website and mobile applications. Gardezi also requested the committee to explore cost-effective options for in-flight Wi-Fi, plans to reduce electricity and other utilities and the immediate implementation of in-flight entertainment programme.

The committee has managed to bring all three stakeholders i.e. Civil Aviation, Air Force and PIA on the negotiation table to deliberate and finalise changes to ensure direct commercial routes between different destinations in the country.

Other recommendations by the committee include, the transition of 30 senior ATR First officers’ directly to Airbus A310, allowing them to bypass the Boeing 737, a process expected to save the ailing airline $1.3 million. In addition, simulator training sessions held outside the country have been readjusted to efficiently use the instructor and simulator, a move that will help reduce the airline’s expense in foreign exchange as simulation of ATR and Boeing 737 are undertaken in the Far East and European countries. The immediate restructuring of these sessions are expected to save the ailing airline over Rs8 million.

The committee also ordered a revised taxi uplift fuel on all aircraft. The plan also includes a power up procedure after take off at 1000ft as per international standards on non-mountainous regions such as Karachi and Lahore. The plan will ensure better engine performance and fuel consumption in take off sequences and result in savings over Rs32 million a year.

A paperless environment at PIA has also been recommended. For starters, printed pay slips for employees above Group 5 have been replaced by electronic pay slips. The move is expected to save the airline Rs3 million. A substantial inventory of aircraft spares which are not in PIA service anymore have also been identified to be sold at $48 million by the committee.

The redesign of in-flight manuals for the cabin crew has also been recommended. The committee also suggested a revamp of snack services on all one-hour cruise domestic and regional flights with immediate effect, a move expected to save Rs54 million.

The committee is also undertaking a stringent audit of oil consumption to reduce fuel-related expenses at the ailing airline. A member of the committee said the airline’s fuel bill had not come down despite only half the fleet in service.

The committee has also decided to undertake a strict audit of all agreements regarding hotel and transport at all PIA domestic and international destinations.

Source: The News

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