ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Privatisation, Ch. Daniyal Aziz has said that the government is determined to finalise the privatisation of Pakistan International Airlines’ “core business” by April 15.
Earlier in an interview to an international news agency, he said that the federal government would try to privatise the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) before general elections due this year.
In a press conference in the capital, the minister said that the private sector runs airlines in several countries of the world, adding that the state-owned airlines are generally in loss everywhere in the world.
Ch. Aziz said that the privatisation of the national air carrier will be completed by April 15, 2018.
It will be ensured that the rights of the employees will be safeguarded, he said.
“Privatization of airlines creates environment of competitiveness,” Aziz said, adding that several airlines in the world, which emerged after the formation of the PIA, turned out to be far more successful.
“We also want to maintain the national identity of the PIA,” he said.
The government is trying to make the balance sheet of the PIA positive from negative, said Daniyal.
When big industries go into loss then it affects the economy, said Aziz, adding that saving those industries without foreign investment is inevitable.
PIA was among 68 state-owned companies earmarked for privatization in return for a $6.7 billion International Monetary Fund package that helped the government stave off a default in 2013. Despite some initial success, the process stalled in 2016 after staff protests caused havoc with PIA operations and the government passed a law that effectively made it impossible to privatise the airline.
Aziz had said that the government would have to pass laws in parliament to reverse the 2016 legislation that converted PIA into a limited company and effectively barred the government from giving up management control.