PIA moves forward with privatization plans

PIA stock exchange board

The Board of Directors of Pakistan International Airlines Corporation Limited (PIACL) has taken a significant step towards the privatization of the national carrier by approving a Scheme of Arrangement (SOA) in its 83rd meeting held in Islamabad. This decision, aimed at restructuring the airline, was sanctioned along with its ancillary modalities and is set to be filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP).

The move comes on the heels of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s recent approval of the reconstituted Cabinet Committee on Privatisation (CCoP), with Minister for Foreign Affairs Ishaq Dar appointed as its chairman. Dar also leads another committee, chaired by the Minister for Defence, tasked with overseeing the marketing of outsourcing airport management and the privatization process of PIACL.

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has been actively involved in the reform efforts concerning Pakistan International Airlines since 2023. At that time, he had formed a committee dedicated to devising strategies for the restructuring, reformation, and revival of PIA. During a meeting chaired by the Prime Minister to address PIA-related matters, the committee presented its proposals and recommendations to the federal cabinet.

The decision to pursue privatization underscores the government’s commitment to revitalizing PIA, which has faced numerous challenges in recent years, including financial woes and operational inefficiencies. Privatization is seen as a means to inject fresh capital, improve governance, and enhance competitiveness in the aviation sector.

While the move has been met with mixed reactions, with some expressing concerns over potential job losses and service quality, proponents argue that privatization could bring about much-needed reforms, leading to a more sustainable and efficient national carrier.

The approval of the Scheme of Arrangement marks a significant milestone in PIA’s journey towards privatization. As the process moves forward, all eyes will be on the government’s efforts to ensure a smooth transition while addressing the interests of stakeholders and safeguarding the future of Pakistan’s aviation industry. ENDs

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