Belt tightening: Committee proposes cost-cutting steps for PIA

"Even with half the fleet in service, the airline’s fuel bill had not come down," Statement issued by the Way Forward Committee. PHOTO: FILE

“Even with half the fleet in service, the airline’s fuel bill had not come down,” Statement issued by the Way Forward Committee. PHOTO: FILE

THE EXPRESS TRIBUNE, KARACHI, 08th OCTOBER 2013: In its first meeting, a special committee constituted to find ways to cut avoidable expenses of the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) adopted 14 proposals, which range from single-engine taxi to selling unused parts of discarded planes, it was announced on Monday.

Secretary Aviation and Acting Chairman PIA, Muhammad Ali Gardezi, has ordered the immediate implementation of these measures which are expected to help save Rs1 billion a year, the committee said in a statement.

Dubbed the ‘Way Forward Committee’, it includes Captain Sohail Baloch, First Officer Syed Chakar Ali Shah, aeronautical engineer Syed Zakir Farooq, flight purser Noor Laghari and other members.

It was formed several weeks ago as employees presented a detailed report to government officials on possible ways to help PIA stop the financial haemorrhage, in an attempt to stave off privatisation.

The proposals include seeking direct flying routes for the airlines between cities within Pakistan. At present domestic carriers take long detours, burning extra fuel, as some routes are used by security forces.

Importance is being given to training pilots locally and avoid foreign tours.

The committee ordered a revised taxi uplift fuel on all aircraft which could save approximately Rs32 million a year.

To cut the amount of paper used, printed pay slips and casual leave applications will now be processed electronically, saving Rs3 million. To curb misuse of medical benefits, the pay slips will now carry details about the facilities used.

A huge inventory of spare parts of B-747, A-300, B-707 and other aircrafts, which are no longer in use, has been lying with PIA for years. It is worth an estimated $48 million. The committee has recommended that these should be sold immediately.

Perhaps the most important proposal was made regarding the way PIA buys spare parts for its planes. The committee wants management to buy parts from the open market, which consists of multiple vendors, instead of relying on just a few suppliers.

Another proposal includes changing the menu on all one-hour long flights in such a way that use of steel trolleys is eliminated on. The reduced weight helps save fuel cost.

“The committee is undertaking a stringent audit of oil consumption to reduce fuel expense. One of the members said that even with half the fleet in service, the airline’s fuel bill had not come down,” the statement said.

An audit of all agreements regarding hotel and transport at all domestic and international destinations will also be carried out.

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