ISLAMABAD - Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) has reported that its flight schedule is returning to normalcy after securing the necessary funds for fuel procurement.
According to a spokesperson from the national flag carrier, PIA successfully obtained funds from its own resources, and starting from Thursday, it is anticipated that flight operations will stabilize.
PIA is giving top priority to ensuring seamless operations on crucial international routes, including Toronto, Saudi Arabia, Istanbul, Kuala Lumpur, and Dubai.
Moreover, as per the spokesperson, the carrier is also gradually restoring flights on domestic routes while regretting the inconvenience caused to passengers due to recent disruptions in flight schedules.
The national carrier of Pakistan canceled over two dozen flights on Wednesday and Tuesday due to fuel shortage and other operational matters which disrupted the travel plans of thousands of passengers.
On Tuesday, Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) faced a significant disruption and was forced to cancel 14 domestic flights due to a shortage of fuel.
This crisis arose after Pakistan State Oil (PSO), a state-owned entity, halted the supply of fuel to PIA over unpaid dues totaling over Rs1.4 billion leading to delays besides cancelation.
The canceled flights included the ones headed from Islamabad to Gilgit, Quetta, Multan, and flights departing from Karachi to Sukkur and Faisalabad.
PIA spokesperson Abdullah Khan confirmed that PSO ceased fuel supply due to payment issues as they now demand advance cash payments only.
The crisis lingered on and on Wednesday, the national carrier canceled more flights on national and international routes.
PIA has been handling financial challenges for quite a long period of time now. The national carrier requires approximately Rs100 million daily for fuel, and the suspension of supply from PSO has severely impacted flight operations.
The caretaker government's decision to privatize PIA, coupled with the withdrawal of interim financial support, has intensified the airline's challenges.
PIA's challenges worsened recently after it was reported that the supply of spare parts to the carrier could be suspended over cash flow problems. The carrier has also grounded some planes in the wake of financial hardships.
Due to the same economic viability challenges, there have been demands for privatizing the national carrier. Former Aviation Minister Khawaja Saad Rafique also stressed the importance of privatizing the carrier or else it would have to shut operations.
In the final days of the PDM regime, it was also decided to privatize loss-making Pakistan International Airlines during a meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Privatization chaired by then Finance Minister Ishaq Dar.
The committee “after deliberation decided to include Pakistan International Airlines Co. Ltd. in the list of active privatization projects of the ongoing privatization program, following an amendment in the law by the Parliament,” a finance ministry statement had said.
Pakistani rupee remains stable against US dollar in the open market on February 25, 2024 (Sunday).
In the open market, the US dollar was being quoted at 279.5 for buying and 282.55 for selling.
Euro currently stands at 302 for buying and 305 for selling while British Pound rate stands at 352.5 for buying, and 356 for selling.
UAE Dirham AED hovers at 76.1 whereas the Saudi Riyal saw slight increase, with new rates at 74.35.
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