Thursday, February 3, 2011

‘PIA suffered Rs 32bn loss due to rupee devaluation’

ISLAMABAD: The National Assembly was informed on Wednesday that the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) has suffered a Rs 32 billion loss due to the devaluation of the Pakistan rupee against the US dollar in the last two years.

To a question, Federal Minister for Defence, Chaudhry Ahmad Mukhtar told the NA that the PIA had suffered a Rs 32 billion loss due to the rupee’s devaluation alone, while other losses of the airline were caused by additional factors. He added that an inquiry had been ordered against those PIA employees who had been receiving double salaries from the organisation.

The minister said that in order to make the national airline a profit-earning entity, a PIA business plan had been approved by its board of directors. “Measures have been suggested for revenue enhancement as well as route rationalisation in a way that would ensure optimal utilisation of resources,” he stated.

Mukhtar added that a study had been conducted for laying the groundwork of the PIA business plan and to identify causes for the airline’s losses.

To another question, he said that currently PIA was operating on 40 routes to European countries “which would increase to 140 after signing an agreement with the Turkish Airlines”. Talking about the aircraft Boeing 777, Mukhtar said the aircrafts were not only fuel-efficient but were also suitable for long-distance journeys.

To another question, the House was informed that Pakistan had set a new Guinness World Record by planting the maximum number of trees during 24 hours in Keti Bundar on July 15, 2009, a feat undertaken by the Sindh Forest Department. A total of 300 local fishermen planted 541,176 plants of mangrove on 796 acres in the Indus Delta. The event was organised by the Ministry of Environment in collaboration with the Sindh Forest Department and the National Bank of Pakistan.

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