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PIA needs foreign talent

Lahore. Pakistan’s national carrier PIA needs “a foreigner with vast experience of running an airine,” the state-run company’s board has reiterated.

According to the respected daily Dawn, the proposal to hire a foreigner was mooted by one of the directors, Makhdoom Ahmed Mahmood, at a meeting of the board in Islamabad recently and was endorsed by the majority of directors including its chairman, Chaudhry Ahmed Mukhtar, who is also Defence Minister. The proposal will be further debated.

PIA, or Pakistan International Airlines, is owned and managed by the Pakistani Defence Ministry, which recently appointed former Air chief Rao Qamar Suleman as its managing director.

But said Mr Mahmood, who is also member of the Punjab Assembly, he had raised the issue of hiring a “thorough professional from abroad” because the national carrier could not afford further deterioration.”

He was of the view that a foreigner would be in a much better position to take “independent” decisions and resist political pressures.

“In countries such as Singapore and Qatar they have experienced foreigners to run their national airlines. Why can’t we have one in Pakistan?,” he asked.

Chaudhry Ahmed Mukhtar said he had endorsed the proposal of Mr Mahmood because he too wanted improvement in the PIA. “There is no harm in hiring a foreigner if he has what it takes to turn the national carrier around,” he said.

It may be noted that Dubai’s Emirates had started operations in 1985 by leasing two aircraft from PIA but it appointed a foreigner (a British gentleman) to run the airline, and today, its growth is perhaps the world’s best aviation story.

© India Strategic