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PIA to be restructured before sale

Ahead of privatisation, restructuring of the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) has begun and the national flag carrier will be privatised in phases, according to Privatisation Commission Chairman Mohammad Zubair.

Talking to a select group of journalists, he said that flight operations would be privatised in the first phase, followed by sale of airport handling, kitchen and other services.

Subsidiaries will be created for each phase.In the present state, no one would come forward to buy and run the PIA, according to Mr Zubair who recently visited PIA headquarters in Karachi and discussed the restructuring process with the management.

The government plans to privatise 26 per cent of PIA’s shares to strategic investors by the end of December as committed to the IMF which is lending Pakistan $6.7 billion over a period of three years under an economic programme.

About the timeline of privatisation assured to the IMF, he said that in case of a delay in completion of the privatisation, the government would inform the lending agency about difficulties it was facing.

Though the government was hopeful that the transactions would be completed in 18 months, he said, process for some of the entities already approved by the commission’s board would be completed earlier than the scheduled time.

This is the most ambitious privatisation process in the country which has been put on fast track since December last year.

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