PIA's History and Industrial Relations

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PIA's History and Industrial Relations

ISHTIAQ AHMED QURESHI, is the General Manager Industrial Relations, PIA. He holds Master's degree in Arts and Bachelorsdegree in Law besides having Diplomas in Industrial and Labour Laws from Karachi University and Basic Management Programme from Manila, Philippines. Mr. Qureshi's service experience spans over 20 years in various managerial capacities. His main area of professional interest ranges from Personnel Management to Rules making and interpretation. His achievements also include various compilations and publications.

Pakistan, at creation, inherited Orient Airways - a private company. The small aircraft operated by this airlines did not permit non-stop flights, between East and West Pakistan - the two integral parts of the country - which were not linked with any surface route. In 1954, therefore, the Government established Pakistan International Airlines and started non-stop flights between the two wings (Karachi-Dhaka), with three Super-constellations. In 1955, PIA and Orient Airways were merged to form PIAC with an authorised capital of Rs. 50 million, with a fleet of 3 Super-constellations, 2 Convairs - 240 and 10 DC-3. The year after that, it started flights to London. To cater for the increased traffic load, Convairs were replaced with Vickers Viscounts in 1958-59 and the DC-3 with Fokker (F-27), two years later.

PIA was the first Asian carrier to operate a jet aircraft (B-707 leased from PANAM) on London route. The encouraging results of this operation prompted PIA to purchase 3 Boeings (B-720) in 1961-62. PIA is also the first airline to start service to Western Europe through Moscow and from a non-communist country to China. Opened in 1963-64, PIA's China flight made history. Ten years later, Karachi-Beijing-Tokyo flights were routed overflying the Karakorams, thus economising the flight time and distance.

Keeping pace with its consistent progress, PIA replaced Viscounts with Tridents and, in turn, with B-707/B-720 and subsequently entered into the family of carriers operating Jumbo Jet by introducing Wide Body (DC-10) in 1974, Jumbo (B-747) in 1976, and Airbus (A-300) in 1980. Today, PIA's fleet consists on: a) Boeing 747-200 - 8, b) A-300 - B4 - 8, c) Boeing 707 - 5, d) Boeing 737-300 - 6, e) Fokker (F-27) - 14, f) f) Twin Otter - 2.

Today, PIA embraces 45 international and 32 domestic stations as against the 9 domestic destinations which were on its route in the beginning. However, the 70's ended on a rather dismal note for the airline as overstaffing, deteriorating performance and a general complacency coupled with massive increase in fuel price, seriously affected PIA's profitability and tarnished its image at home and abroad.

In order to save the airline from further deterioration, the Government made changes in the management and promulgated MLR-52 in January 1981, thereby banning union activities. This strategy, coupled with proper planning and freshly diffused spirit of discipline and feelings of hardwork among the employees, paid dividends by turning the tide of low profits experienced during the past two years, and the airlines earned a profit of 220 million, substantially exceeding its own target of Rs. 130.50 million fixed at the start of the year. Besides pursuing its own economic pursuits, PIA plays an important national-building role by supporting the families of nearly 20,000 employees and by contributing significantly, to the training of technicians, engineers and skilled workers for their gainful employment within PIA and outside. PIA is a roaming Ambassador of the country and helps project Pakistan - its cities, cultures and heritage - and wins friends and goodwill for it.

The PIA Training Centre at Karachi is fully equipped to impart comprehensive instructions in all major fields of airline industry - flying, engineering, marketing, management etc., and, courses are conducted in conformity with the industry requirements and the standards laid down by the Regularity Bodies within and outside the country - Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) of the United Kingdom, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) of the United States and the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO). …