No airline arguably has had a more glorious past and eventual decline as our national carrier. The present government planned to revive the fledgling airline by hiring a serving air marshal as the CEO who vowed to turn it into a profitable enterprise.
Air Marshal Arshad Malik was appointed as PIA CEO last April and was serving as acting CEO since October 2018. After more than a year, his appointment has been challenged and he has been restrained from carrying out his duties. A petition has been filed in the Sindh High Court that there was a wide gap between his education, qualification, aviation experience, and the job requirements.
The petition was filed by a senior employee and office-bearer of PIA’s association. The move had given credence to claims that the status quo within the airline is resisting reforms by the PIA chief and want to see him gone. The petitioner said the CEO does not have any educational qualification in aviation but instead a degree in war studies, and lacks experience in the commercial airline industry.
Air Marshal Malik is a decorated officer and has served as Vice Chief of Air Staff of Pakistan Air Force. During his career in PAF, he has flown various trainer and fighter aircrafts in addition to commanding a fighter squadron, a flying wing, an operational airbase, and a regional air command. He has also overseen the manufacturing of JF-17 Thunder fighter aircraft along with the induction and sale of Super Mashak aircraft. This makes him highly qualified and the petition filed seems to be filled with malaise and ill-intent.
The CEO had recently stated that PIA will fly into profits soon and return to its past glory. The rehabilitation process of the national airline is being affected by his snag. The biggest problem the national airline faces is over-staffing and Air Marshal Malik had made a priority to curtail expenditures and excessive staff. This certainly would not have gone down well with PIA employees. The associations have the right to demand their rights but they should not impact the success of the airline.