Airlines CEO says: Pakistan Airlines on path of change


The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the national flag carrier Pakistan International Airlines (PIA), Bernd Hildenbrand, has disclosed that the carrier has started earning a profit while addressing a press conference in London.

Mr. Hildenbrand briefed the journalists about the present situation of PIA, future plans to minimize losses and bring down the average age of its fleet, and a replacement plan for fuel efficiency. He said that PIA needs to “shift towards market orientation and customer focus.” He also spoke about measures being taken by the airline for cost control, route rationalization, and maximum revenue. However, he observed that there was still more work to be done to improve effectiveness of the organization. He maintained that safety and reliability would remain the priority of management.

Talking about the privatization of PIA, he said that nothing is being done over PIA’s privatization for the time being and does not see an immediate implementation in this regard, but nothing could be said about it in future. PIA has now turned into a profitable outfit, and it earned an operational profit in March and April of this year, the CEO added.

Bernd Hildenbrand said that PIA’s flight operations have been improved, but he wants to make every department of the airlines profitable for which staff training is necessary. PIA currently has 38 aircrafts while talks are underway to procure 3 of the latest aircrafts on lease, he added.

Talking about time performance, he said that the airline had improved its on-time performance from 60% to more than 80%. In the last few months, this increased to 95%. “London and Kuala Lumpur, flights to Toronto and New York, are very important to us,” he added. He believed the national flag carrier is experiencing tough competition in the International aircraft market.

Speaking about the future of PIA, he said PIA will grow from 38 aircraft to 60 by 2020. All 3 carriers in the nation – PIA, Shaheen Air, and Air Blue – have a total of 70 aircraft combined. In a country with nearly 200 million inhabitants, that’s really nothing, and it creates a lot of potential for growth. It is still too early to dream of being part of a global alliance, but the airline has codeshares with Etihad, Turkish Airlines, and Thai Airways. He said, “We would like to extend that with more agreements. In five years, PIA should be delivering a much better service, be focused on what’s important, and operating daily flights with harmonized schedules.”

While the CEO was confident of the success of cost-cutting measures being implemented and said, “I have a good team on the management side,” he said certain changes had been made and more were in the cards. The representatives of the print and electronic media were there in full strength.