Shareholders approve transfer of PIA operations to holding company amid privatisation push
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A Pakistan International Airlines passenger jet is parked on the tarmac o Kabul Airport. —AFP/File
A Pakistan International Airlines passenger jet is parked on the tarmac o Kabul Airport. —AFP/File

The majority of the shareholders of the Pakistan International Airlines Corporation Limited (PIACL) has favoured the transfer of operations to the PIA Holding Company Limited (PIAHL), which was formed to oversee the privatisation of the loss-making state-owned entity, a statement said on Saturday.

“In a pivotal moment, shareholders overwhelmingly endorsed the proposal to transfer operations to the PIAHL, underscoring a vote of confidence in the restructuring efforts aimed at revitalising Pakistan’s flagship airline and positioning it for sustained growth in the competitive aviation landscape,” the PIA communique said.

It said the annual extraordinary general meeting witnessed the participation of key stakeholders, including the Federal Secretary, Aviation Secretary, legal advisers, financial experts and the CEO of PIA, alongside all directors and shareholders.

The primary agenda of the meeting was the proposed transfer of operations from the PIACL to the PIAHL. The shareholders extensively discussed the matter, emphasising the potential benefits and risks associated with the restructuring.

The meeting was told that the company has started posting operating profits after thirteen years. The impressive financial performance was attributed to strategic initiatives undertaken by the administration in response to shareholder feedback.

Furthermore, shareholders witnessed a remarkable 700% surge in PIA’s business, signalling optimism and confidence in the airline’s future trajectory.

Following the completion of the International Aviation Safety Assessment (IASA) audit, the PIA unveiled plans to commence operations in Europe and Britain from June 2024, demonstrating its commitment to global expansion and service excellence.

The government’s unwavering commitment to PIA’s revival was palpable throughout the meeting, with senior government officials actively participating to ensure stringent measures were in place for the airline’s improvement, the statement said.

What is PIAH?

PIA has been bifurcated into two companies — PIA Corporation and PIA Holding. The PIAC owns the flying operations while the other assets and liabilities. The government had appointed Ernst & Young — a global financial advisory firm — to prepare the plan for the loss-making firm which completed its task during the caretaker setup.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has asked the Pakistani authorities to privatise the bleeding state-owned enterprises to revitalise the sick economy. The global lender wanted their governance to be improved and corruption to be controlled.

Under the E&Y plan — presented before the board — the voluntary retirement scheme was also discussed, sources said, adding that the transaction adviser has also proposed to retire the employees who have four years of service left.

It is important to mention that the PIA’s board of directors has been inactive since October 2023 and the federal cabinet recently approved its reconstitution as it is mandatory to seek its approval for the major decisions regarding the company.

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