Senate body seeks briefing by PIACL Board on financial stability plan



Islamabad,  (Parliament Times)  : The Senate Standing Committee on Aviation Tuesday sought a detailed briefing by the Pakistan International Airlines Company Limited (PIACL)’s Board of Director on financial stability plan and future vision to transform the national flag-carrier into a profit-earning entity.

The committee meeting, chaired by Senator Mushahidullah Khan, was briefed by PIACL Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Air Marshal Arshad Malik on reports about closure of the airliner’s Roosevelt Hotel in New York, besides financial constraints and capacity issues of the airliner.

He apprised the Committee that the PIA was not going to sell the hotel, but it would be closed down by December 31 for its renovation and future utility plans.

The PIA CEO said the privatization commission has been approached through the federal government, which would hire a financial consultant through an international tendering process to devise future course of action, considering all the available options.

The meeting was informed that it would be decided later whether necessary renovation or repair work would be carried out or the existing building will have to be demolished for reconstruction and raising a 100-storey hotel for which local bylaws are conducive. It was further apprised that PIA’s Roosevelt Hotel, a 19-storey building located at a prime location, was acquired in 1978 on partnership, from its own profits and as a part of PIA diversification strategy. In 1999, he said, it acquired 100 percent shareholding at $36.5 million from its own resources and without any aid from the government. The property had more than a thousand rooms, having an area of 43,313 square feet, adding it was run by the world’s premier Hotel Management Company ‘Interstate Hotel and Resorts’ USA. The committee was told that the current market value of the hotel, assessed by M/s Deloittee, was $662 Million based on the highest and best use. The financial position of the hotel had been in the ‘Red, ’ mainly due to debt servicing, unionization, dilapidated building, infrastructure, rooms and public area conditions, which needed immediate upgrade and major repairs in life of severe weather conditions.

The PIA CEO said the declining business of the hotel further aggravated due to the coronavirus pandemic, which could increase the loss to $ 6 million per year.

Chairman of the Committee said that PIA should consider reopening the routes where the COVID issues have been addressed, especially Japan and China. He said that the Committee would support the positive development and initiatives of the PIA administration for the betterment of its services as the airliner is passing through a tough time.

The committee also took up a harassment case of PIA and listened to both the parties. Senator Sherry Rehman was of the view that the accused of harassment, who was posted as HR Manager in PIA, should be repatriated to its parent department with recommendation to hold a fresh inquiry against the officer.

“It is a classic textbook case of harassment and the officer be removed from his post and sent back to its original organization,” she observed.

After hearing in camera. The Committee recommended the surrender of Mr. Kamran Anjum to his parents. keeping in view the harassment case proved against him.

Among others, the meeting was attended by Senators Manzoor Ahmed Kakar, Syed Muzafar Hussain Shah,Muhammad Asad Ali Khan Junejo Noman Wazir Khattak , Sajjad Hussain Turi, Senator Muhammad Khalid Hussain Bizenjo, senior officials of Aviatio Division and PIACL.