PIA to end US flights and signs MoU with Turkish

Pakistan International Airlines ( PIA, IATA : PK ) has signed an MoU with Turkish Airlines ( IATA : TK ) in a move that will signal a strategic change in the airline’s direction. Under the new deal, pending government approval, PIA will stop a range of its unprofitable routes to the US and the EU, and instead funnel the traffic through TK’s Istanbul hub. The routes to be ended include New York and Chicago.


Pakistan International to end New York, Chicago. Focuses on connecting from Istanbul.
PIA 777-200LR. Photo by Ken Mist.

 Not much is known about the partnership at this stage, nor does whether it includes any revenue sharing. However, PIA MD Capt. Aijaz Haroon, in an interview with Khaleej Times had stated that the two airlines will cooperate and funnel the traffic to West via Istanbul and to the East via Karachi.

 As per the interview, PIA will drop certain unprofitable routes, including New York JFK and Chicago. Turkish will codeshare on PIA’s flights to certain destinations out of Karachi, including Colombo and Dhaka.

 PIA was once one of South Asia’s leading airlines and first launched its flights to New York in 1961. However, later competition from the rising Gulf carriers and political issues have seen the once prestigious carrier fall into an organization reliant on government funds.

PIA was the launch customer for the Boeing 777-200LR and currently operates two of the type along with four -200ERs and -300ERs. However, security restrictions from the USA mean the carrier is forced to make an stop ( currently at Manchester ) on the way to USA.

The carrier’s flights to Toronto – on which it is reportedly achieving very good loads ( with UAE carriers not getting extra flights into Canada ), will not be affected. But some of PIA’s unprofitable European stations are believed will be scrapped. Although it has been rumoured that PIA will resume service to Houston this is yet to be confirmed.

 PIA and TK are expected to operate 21 weekly flights between Istanbul and Karachi, with PIA operating 14 out of 21.

 This is nevertheless a very good strategic move if properly executed, and could help push PIA back into the path to profitablity. Recent months have seen PIA expanding, with new flights to Colombo and Zahedan, Iran.

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5 Responses to PIA to end US flights and signs MoU with Turkish

  1. abudanish 28 January, 2011 at 1:14 pm #


    A MOU has been signed between PIA & Turkish Airlines for carriage of PIA passengers onward from ISTANBUL to US and European destinations with out consultation of Airline’s Marketing wizards & other stakeholders, resulting in start of a never ending controversy on the issue as Senate Standing Committee and even CAA the regularity Government body have shown their concern and reservations . The hurriedly signing of the MOU with a trusted friend like Turkey in the wake of deepening cordial relations will harm badly the strengthening relations between two countries, if at all at any stage the MOU does not materialize due internal pressures.

    In year 1993 the contract for M-1 (Motorway) project was awarded to TURKISH firm BAYINDER which somewhat suffered similar controversies and the contract was terminated in 1994 before BAYINDER had mobilized on site. The relations between Pakistan & turkey Strained due to the termination and BAYINDER was compensated with USD 10.72 Million through an arbitration award held in Pakistan. In year 1997 a revival agreement was signed with BAYINDER giving very lucrative terms over and above the 1993 contract. The past experience of Turkish entrepreneurs on the Project had already left visible ugly scars.

    Series of negative news items in media about PIA ‘s Financial Crunch every day had already put PIA once pride of Pakistan in an awkward position and the airline has already suffered loss of credibility among the overseas Pakistanis who contribute a big chunk of revenues and in spite of hassles of transit security checks en route US destination still prefer to travel PIA out of Patriotism.

    Since the take over of Democratic government not only PIA but all the
    Institutions which were once profit generating areas are showing tail spin downwards trend with losses of billions, who is milking these cows every body knows, but decisions which are interlinked with our trusted friends like China & Turkey need thorough discussions among all stake holders like the Parliament, Foreign Office, CAA and the staff associations prior to any signing of MOU s to avoid the repercussions of financial Fall back and the diplomatic consequences.

    I, am witnessing that since last many months in spite of valid & positive criticism in almost all Pakistani & foreign media and Urdu papers published overseas the Management has paid no heed to straighten up the wrongs instead quietly signed the controversial MOU with Turkish Airlines and landed in deep shit endangering the congenial working environment of company’s staffers of all categories and also put on stake friendly relations with Turkish Government.

    The malady in PIA is not a storm in a tea cup and it would not perish with bullying Capt. Aijaz Haroon in media trial nor improve by half baked solutions . Considering Capt Aijaz Haroon a professional pilot as a corporate GURU by echelons of power is a pure sycophancy and a fantasy. The irony of the fate is that the worth of individuals is being gauged by their allegiance to political figures and not their performance , pretense , results and reputation. You walk into any Sales office and the regiments of Sales Promotion Officers can be found enjoying all the perks and privileges without doing any
    Sales or Marketing work except producing fake entertainment bills of 5 star restaurants in the name of Sales Promotion and strategic Marketing .

    One visit to PIA head office building and one is stuck dumb at the regimentation and regality of the top management . They are literally living in their ivory towers, in spite of debt burdens and accumulating losses to create more offshore accounts for the rulers in shape of commissions on purchase of 27 new aircrafts is under order. Such profligacy is criminal as rather then tightening the fiscal belt , they are showing the lavish splendor that the airline ill affords under the present predicament.

    If the airline has not been able to meet its projected targets in revenue productivity, yield seat occupancy , RPK’s and RTK’s , it manifests clearly the present management’s inability to motivate a noticeable glitch in leadership trait, their incompetence to gauge the fluctuating business cycles, that demand constant mid-course changes and fine tunings. Complacencies and short sighted stop gap strategies have been the hallmark of the present PIA higher non professional management, as a matter of fact PIA has become a paradise for NON PROFESSIONALS and an abode for the sons and son in laws of big wigs in politics, civil & military bureaucracy, merit and professionalism has vanished altogether.

    What one can expect when the backbone of any airline the Catering, Flight Service and Airport Services are headed by people having no know how of Food Service, In-flight service and Customer Service. In past years a gentlemen Telecommunication Engineer (Mr. Shahid Sarwar) who worked for decades in telecommunication department was appointed General Manager Catering , then an airport services officer (Zulfiqar Hussain (Zulfi) who did not hold any Catering or culinary know how was appointed General Manager Catering, lately a Pilot Captain Abid Chaudhry was appointed General Manager Catering, presently also a non Food.& beverages professional is heading this important area specially in Catering department A Motor Transport Manager, an Accountant, a technical Ground Support Manager was also tried except a qualified culinary expert or Food & Beverage Manager. Similarly a civil engineer (Hanif Pathan) has been heading the Administration & Human resources. In fact after the appointment of Captain Aijaz Haroon the Pilotization of the airline is underway and most of the decision makers belong to the flying crew.

    The airline forcibly retired experienced and seasoned aviation business experts at the age of 57 on the pretext of trimming the extra fat of airline and on the other hand increased retirement age of PILOTS and recruited already retired pilots again on fresh contracts with higher emoluments. The Government interference of pick and choose on glamour slots in PIA started it’s rot and ruination. Whimsical appointments of PIA MDs and Chairman and their experimentation robbed PIA of it’s devotion, dedication and professionalism. The corrupt and un professional work environs aided by brain drain left PIA in a dilemma of it’s existence and today the crisis is deepened so much so that the airline is on the brink of bankruptcy and the signing of MOU with Turkish Airline is result of financial and marketing strategy failure.. On the pretext of parochial or provincial rationalization many raw hands were injected without due consideration to suitability, merit or professional qualification on highest pays & kingly perks. A recent example of which is induction of some ones crony ( Salim Sayani) on the newly revived post of Deputy Managing Director.

    Once PIA as a progressive airline had been adding precious foreign exchange to the national coffers . It was not only ushering in new era of technology but was turning out commercial leadership thru it’s Training Center, could any one ever believe that Singapore Airline, Saudi Arabian Airlines, Royal Jordanian Airline ( ALIA), Syrian Arab Airline, Libyan Arab Airline, Kuwait airways , Iraqi Airways, Air Malta, Somalia Airlines , Yemeni Airways and today’s Number One airline EMIRATES AIRLINE were nurtured from scratch by professionals and experts from PIA and the executives of these airlines were queued up in front of PIA Office in quest of Aviation expertise. The PIA engineering serviced airliners of neighbors and region with their certification authority endorsed by BOEING and AIRBUS Industry.

    To what depth has PIA fallen to is the anti thesis our hearts bleed as proud performers and professionals we held aloft the PIA’s Green colored Tail and Pakistan ‘s flag the world over with pride and truly a meaning full slogan of GREAT PEOPLE TO FLY WITH was guarded & maintained for years together.

    PIA does not suffer maladministration it suffers from leadership and vision. We need a man with gift of commercial foresight, a human dynamo with distinguished track record of proven ability to motivate the staff and transform them to achievers and performers who could spike sales & profits. We need Academically Competent, Professionally sound Engineering, Flight Operations, Marketing & Customer Service Directors who could lead from the front and demonstrate their skills to their teams , blazing a trail of performance exceeding the extent of those phony job descriptions . Pakistani Hospitality and our immense capacity to cater to all palates is renowned the world over backed by our patriot overseas Pakistani’s who in spite of all Short comings and miss-handlings still love to travel PIA. With well maintained aircrafts and well crafted schedules we could venture into high density markets relying on third and fourth freedom traffic initially and later aggressively tapping fifth and sixth freedom traffic. Limitations of equipment and alternate capacities should not blight our starry objectives.

    We have proved it in the past and have kept our fleet flying the highest operational hours and never compromised with our A, B and C checks to insure zero fallibility under rigid equipment safety standards. Where men and material combine to perform heightened activity , the results are always complimentary .

    Our Marketing policies should hinge on profit enrichments and high revenue earnings . It requires us to assemble and assimilate a network where optimal loads are guaranteed , schedule integrity with incomparable services both on ground and in flight including
    Tasty cuisine would help us enter the high end market which has been the privilege and preserve of the elite and the exceptional.

    Merit and merit should alone should be the criteria , no parochial or provincial consideration should ever be allowed to color fair assessment, there should be absolutely no place for Chums, Classmates, Batch mates, Polo partners, Jail mates, Deadwoods or Retired Orphans from the Military or Civil administration. PIA has to be a fighting outfit where every member of the family contributes and launches it from one glory to another. The work culture has to be modernized where officers and staff have brainstorming sessions to further PIA revenue earnings and lessen passenger inconveniences, nobody should indulge in loose social , political or religious talks.

    Why weep PIA destiny when the country in it self is in turmoil thanks to military chauvinists and our present so called democratic champions who have pawned our sovereignty and our liberty to west for their personal gains and kingly lavish future of their off springs already enjoying royal living in palaces of Dubai, London and USA.

    Thanks to merciful Divine that we still exist on the world map and that PIA in it’s shambles and tatters is alive and kicking- fighting desperately a losing war in the Corrupt

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