PIA CBA union announces strike against privatisation

The People’s Unity of Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) CBA union has announced to go on strike against the privatisation of the national airline from Thursday.

Addressing a press conference, PIA CBA consortium President Hidayatullah announced that all district-level booking offices of the national airline will be closed for 2 hours as a token strike from Thursday.

He gave 48-hour ultimatum to the PIA administration and the interim government to refrain from undertaking the privatisation of the national airline.

“The union will take important decisions on Friday,” he said.

CCoP gave nod to privatise PIA

In a major development, the Cabinet Committee on Privatisation (CCoP) last Monday had given its nod to the privatisation of Pakistan International Airlines (PIA).

The decision was made during a meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Privatization (CCoP), with then Finance Minister Senator Ishaq Dar in the chair.

The meeting considered the proposal of the Privatisation Commission regarding the inclusion of Pakistan International Airlines Co. Ltd (PIACL) in the privatisation programme.

The CCoP after deliberation decided to include Pakistan International Airlines Co. Ltd (PIA) in the list of active privatisation projects of the ongoing privatisation programme, following an amendment in the law by the Parliament.

Privatisation Division presented a summary of detailed updates regarding the privatization of the Roosevelt Hotel.

The CCoP after discussion gave concurrence to the Privatisation Commission for hiring of Financial Adviser to process/structure transactions of Roosevelt Hotel, New York, an asset of PIA Investment Limited (PIA-IL).

‘Rs259b losses’

Earlier, former aviation minister Khawaja Saad Rafique warned that Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) may endure alarming losses of Rs259 billion by the year 2030 if urgent corrective measures are not implemented, which includes the transfer of its administrative control to the private sector.

The then federal minister made these remarks while speaking on the Senate floor after tabling “The Pakistan International Airlines Corporation (Conversion) (Amendment) Bill, 2023”.

Saad Rafique emphasised the necessity of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and granting administrative control to the private sector to sustain PIA. “The airline is facing a daunting debt burden of Rs742 billion,” he noted.

It is pertinent to mention here that the PIA flights to Europe and the UK have been suspended since 2020 after the European Union’s Aviation Safety Agency revoked the national carrier’s authorisation to fly to the bloc following the pilot licence scandal.

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