A total of 49 flights have been canceled, affecting travelers from smaller towns and distant areas, including Gwadar, Turbat, Skardu, and Gilgit, who prefer air travel for its time-saving convenience.
KARACHI: (UrduPoint/Pakistan Point News-Oct 25th, 2023) A substantial increase in flight cancellations was witnessed on Wednesday due to the financial struggles faced by Pakistan International Airlines (PIA), compelling passengers to seek alternative options.
The majority of these cancellations were on routes to and from Karachi, the nation's busiest airport and commercial center. PIA's inability to secure funds stems from the reluctance of financial institutions to extend loans and the Federal government's unwillingness to provide further bailouts, given the lack of fiscal flexibility.
The ongoing crisis aligns with the International Monetary Fund's (IMF) conditions, which emphasize the privatization of state-owned enterprises to reduce the fiscal deficit, as these entities have been a financial burden.
With the privatisation of state-owned enterprises, particularly the national flag carrier, looming as a critical agenda item, flight disruptions are significantly impacting PIA's revenue generation. Many canceled flights cover routes in the middle East, which are among the most profitable, serving the millions of expatriate Pakistanis employed in these affluent countries.
As a result, an increasing number of passengers are likely to opt for alternative airlines that provide superior service, given that wealthy Pakistanis are already patronizing foreign carriers, including those from Europe, the UAE, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia.
The financial crisis has been exacerbated by the devaluation of the rupee and rising fuel costs. PIA has relied on government bailouts for decades, failing to establish a sustainable business model capable of expanding its domestic and international operations.
Furthermore, PIA's international route network has diminished, and incidents such as the plane crash in Karachi and controversies surrounding pilots during the PTI government have complicated matters, resulting in a ban on PIA flights by the European Union's Aviation Safety Agency (EASA).