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Operational losses brought down to Rs680m in 2020: PIA

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Operational losses brought down to Rs680m in 2020: PIA

RAWALPINDI: Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) has announced its financial results for 2020 as it submitted audited accounts with the Stock Exchange of Pakistan, claiming that it had reduced its operational losses from Rs6.130 billion in 2019 to less than Rs680 million in 2020.

A PIA spokesman said in a press release that what had been termed one of the worst year in decades for the global aviation industry whereby even largest players in the market had obtained huge bailout packages from their respective governments to stay afloat, PIA had come up with a noteworthy performance, nearly breaking even on operational losses and reducing its overall losses by 33.7pc.

According to the airlines’ audited financial results for the year 2020, PIA reduced its operational losses fromRs6.130 billion in 2019 to less than Rs680 million in 2020, which would have been easily covered if revenue streams had not also fallen by nearly 35.7pc. PIA achieved a revenue of Rs94.989 billion, down from Rs147 billion achieved in 2019, the main reason for which was Covid-19 restrictions affecting all of PIA routes, reducing the overall operations by nearly half.

The pandemic which hit the industry in March 2020 saw nearly halting all the operations, domestic and international for months, which only started to resume partially from July onwards. However, July also saw the EASA ban imposed on PIA which hit one of the biggest routes of the UK and Europe.

He said the bread winning operations of Umrah and Haj flights also impacted the revenues of PIA. The national flag carrier responded by focusing on special charter flights, repatriation and relief flights which helped it retain its foothold in the market and generate valuable revenue from alternative sources, which made the COVID and ban related bite on revenues much milder, than initially predicted.

The press release said the special charters for NDMA and Pakistan army helped retain valuable foreign exchange within the country.

During the year 2020, PIA oversaw a number of reforms such as cutting down the loss making units such as Speedex and curtailing on loss making routes and cost reductions without compromising on service reliability and standards.

PIA thus is strictly adhering to the path of recovery it devised for itself which saw 2019 tackling the governance issues and plugging revenues leakages, 2020 as consolidation and planned operational break even for the year 2021.

The airline management also renegotiated with financial institutions for rescheduling of loans and also re-negotiated the lease payments of high lease aircraft that were acquired in the past.

PIA also undertook a voluntary separation scheme accepted by nearly 2,000 employees which will have considerable impact on the expense in 2021.

PIA Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Air Marshal Arshad expressed his satisfaction on the financial results and acknowledged the team effort put forth by PIA and the support extended to it by all the stakeholders, including the government of Pakistan.

He said PIA is making all efforts to face and cope up with Covid-19 scenario and though the outlook remains challenging in 2021 as well, it is hoped that with the “support of the government, Pakistani customers and dedication of PIA employees, we will emerge stronger than before.”

The testing times shall soon be over and the strength acquired by PIA with the reforms, restructuring and financial discipline will bear fruit in the near future.

Published in Dawn, April 12th, 2021