Saturday, April 7, 2018

Why is PIA Losing Money Amid Air Travel Boom in Pakistan?

What is behind the domestic and international aviation boom in India and Pakistan? Why is Pakistan doing better than India in terms of international passenger growth while badly lagging in domestic air travel?

Passenger Aircraft at Karachi International Airport
What has happened to the global airline industry since the passage of the US Deregulation Act of 1978? Why did many big airlines of yesteryears die in spite of huge growth of air travel? How did so many upstart low-cost carriers succeed while state-owned airlines failed?

Why are the domestic air fares in Pakistan three times higher than those in India for similar distances? Why does state-owned PIA control two-thirds of Pakistan's domestic market? Why isn't there more competition on domestic routes in Pakistan?

Why are state-owned airlines, including PIA and Air India, losing a lot of money, requiring massive taxpayer subsidies and still performing poorly? Why aren't these airlines run more efficiently? Are PIA jobs used for political patronage? Why does PIA fly so many empty seats rather than cut fares to expand market?

Viewpoint From Overseas host Faraz Darvesh discusses these questions with Misbah Azam and Riaz Haq (

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

South Asia Investor Review

Pakistan Air Travel Market

Pakistan $20 Billion Tourism Industry Booming

Saving PIA, Railways and Education in Pakistan

Pakistan: Political Patronage Trumps Public Policy

Riaz Haq's Youtube Channel


Riaz Haq said...

India tried to sell its national airline. It got zero bids

India has failed to find a buyer for its ailing national airline.
Selling Air India was one of the government's economic priorities for this year, and the failure of the auction will dampen hopes that it could privatize other state-owned companies.

Bidding for the national carrier closed Thursday without a single prospective buyer coming forward.

"As informed by the transaction adviser, no response has been received for the expression of interest floated for the strategic disinvestment of Air India," the Indian Ministry of Civil Aviation said on its official Twitter account.

The government put Air India on the auction block last year, and was offering bidders the chance to buy 76%. It wants to scale back taxpayer support for an airline that has lost money for years.

The auction deadline had already been extended in the hope that a buyer may come forward. The future of the indebted carrier is now very uncertain.

"Further course of action will be decided appropriately," the ministry said in its tweet.

Air India declined to comment, referring the matter to the ministry. Aviation ministry officials did not respond to requests for comment.

Despite its losses, and growing competition from budget carriers such as SpiceJet and IndiGo, Air India is still a major player in an aviation market that is projected to be the world's third biggest by 2026.

Riaz Haq said...

#Pakistan #Airline With 14,000 Staff for 30 Planes to Cut Half Its Workforce. Even before #Covid restrictions, #PIA was banned from key markets including the #US and #Europe. And it missed out on peak travel periods like the annual #Hajj pilgrimage.

Even airlines in good financial health have been left reeling because of the coronavirus, which has caused dozens to collapse and thousands of job losses globally. In its latest outlook last week, the International Air Transport Association said carriers worldwide will lose about $48 billion in 2021 as virus flareups and mutations extend the timeline for a restart of global air travel.

PIA had 30 aircraft as of Sept. 30, including 12 Boeing Co. 777s and 11 Airbus SE A320s. Hussain didn’t specify what changes would be made to the fleet, which also includes ATR aircraft, but he said the size would be “kept under 30” and include more fuel-efficient planes. PIA will no longer serve destinations such as Tokyo and Manila, Hussain said.

Pakistan vowed to cut jobs and sell non-core assets after a series of bailouts, including one of 3.2 billion rupees in June so the airline could meet interest payments. About 2,000 employees have taken voluntary redundancy already, according to the airline. Meanwhile, non-core operations such as catering and engineering will be outsourced, said Hussain, a former central bank governor.

Other assets are also being assessed, including the Roosevelt Hotel in New York, which the airline acquired during its loftier days as a symbol of Pakistani prestige. The hotel was closed last year and may be sold or redeveloped.

Riaz Haq said...

#Pakistan's Alvir Airways gets operating license, eyes ERJ (#Brazil-made Embraer regional jets).
It plans to operate from 3 hubs (#Karachi, #Lahore, & #Islamabad) to 3 destinations (#Gwadar, #Skardu, & #Turbat) - to promote #tourism & regional air access.

Pakistani startup Alvir Airways (Karachi Int'l) has been granted a Tourism Promotion and Regional Integration (TPRI) operating license by the Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority (PCAA), according to a statement issued by the regulator.

Under the National Aviation Policy of 2019, the license is valid for five years until June 2026, read the statement issued by PCAA spokesman Saad Bin Ayub.

According to the PCAA, Alvir Airways intends to acquire two unspecified Embraer jets for the startup of operations and will add more of the type in time.

The airline plans to operate from three hubs in Pakistan, namely Karachi Int'l, Lahore Int'l, and Islamabad Quaid-e-Azam Int'l to three destinations - Gwadar, Skardu, and Turbat - to promote tourism and regional air access. Alvir Airways will be pitched against PIA - Pakistan International Airlines (PK, Islamabad Quaid-e-Azam Int'l) which currently holds 100% of the market share in terms of weekly seat capacity at Gwadar, Skardu, and Turbat, according to the ch-aviation capacities module. PIA serves Skardu twice weekly from Faisalabad, daily from Islamabad, 3x weekly from each of Karachi and Lahore, and weekly from Sialkot, the ch-aviation schedules module reveals. PIA also serves Gwadar 4x weekly from Karachi; and Turbat weekly from Islamabad and thrice-weekly from Karachi.

The PCAA said Alvir Airways was granted the license in line with a vision by Prime Minister Imran Khan to promote tourism and regional connectivity. It was presented by PCAA Director-General Khaqan Murtaza and other dignitaries to Alvin Airways Chief Executive Officer Tehseen Awan, Managing Director Syeda Huma Batool, and Chief Operating Officer Shahzaib Mahmood at the regulator's head-office in Karachi on July 12, 2021.

Speaking at the event, Awan said that Alvir Airways would start domestic flights in the first phase before purchasing more aircraft. He said the company aimed to provide employment in the aviation sector and become a major player in the Pakistan aviation industry.

The company has begun recruiting staff on its website, which, however at this stage, gives no further insight into its corporate set-up.

Neither the company, nor Awan were immediately available for comment. Awan currently holds the position of managing director of Vetworld, an animal health company, according to his LinkedIn profile.

Riaz Haq said...

Revving up in low gear: The paradoxes in India's transport sector

No Indian airline makes money, railways' passenger traffic is stagnant, and roads have a revenue imbalance problem, but investments in all three are like never before, notes T N Ninan

India’s transport sector offers a strange mosaic of stagnant traffic trends, poor or negative returns, and yet unprecedented levels of investment for the future. After years of vast sums being ploughed into all forms of transport, the next two or three years could see the results of that investment in the form of transformational change in the air, on highways and expressways, and in the railways. Here’s hoping.