Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) once again failed to achieve a turnaround in its earnings as the air carrier recorded a loss of Rs25 billion in the half year ended June 30, 2021.
However, the loss was 31.5% lower compared to the loss of Rs36.5 billion recorded in the same period of last year, revealed a notice sent by PIA Corporation to the Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) on Friday.
The national airline’s net revenue almost halved to Rs27.6 billion in January-June 2021 against Rs51.5 billion in the same period of last year.
“PIA’s revenue fell 46% during January to June 2021,” confirmed PIA spokesperson Abdullah Hafeez Khan in comments to The Express Tribune. “In the six months till June 30, 2021, PIA was able to slash the losses as they declined to Rs25 billion.”
According to him, the prime reason behind the drop in revenue was the suspension of flights to major international destinations.
Last year, PIA was flying to the UK and Europe and the airline operated Umrah flights from January to March 2020. However, flights on these routes remained suspended in the first six months of 2021.
A decrease in distribution, administrative and finance costs helped cut the losses, he said. Finance cost in the six months to June 30, 2021 amounted to Rs12.7 billion, down 25%.
Aviation expert Afsar Malik said that PIA successfully operated repatriation flights for the Pakistanis in Europe and other areas but the nation could not keep a company running on profit that posted losses of Rs25-50 billion every year.
Regarding repatriation operations, he gave the example of the US which has no national airline and utilises military airplanes in emergency situations just like current rescue operation in Afghanistan with military planes.
“We can take airplanes from private companies in emergency situations. Our law allows the state to do so,” he said.
On the other hand, Pakistan Businesses Forum (PBF) Vice President Ahmad Jawad said that PIA was the national pride and it had assets of billions of rupees, hence it could easily cover the loss of Rs25 billion with an effective business plan.
“The PIA management is expected to acquire new long-range aircraft following the introduction of new routes, therefore, the airline will become profitable in future,” he said.