Despite a major financial crunch, Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) has chosen to recruit new staff members in the United Kingdom. What’s more intriguing is that this move comes when the airline faces a three-year-long suspension of direct flights to the UK.
Despite these setbacks, PIA seems undeterred. The newly appointed country manager of PIA in the UK will pocket a hefty salary of £70,000 annually. Concurrently, the passenger sales and finance managers aren’t far behind, securing an annual pay of £55,000.
Manchester Gets a New Manager
Adding to the list of recent appointments, a manager has been stationed in Manchester with a remuneration package worth £55,000, along with other benefits.
In defence of these surprising staffing decisions amidst the crisis, a PIA spokesperson pointed out that the airline still manages to pull in annual revenue of £14 million from its UK operations. This income stream, he noted, is thanks to a code-sharing arrangement with Turkish Airlines. The spokesperson highlighted that a mere 1.8% of this revenue goes into the salaries of PIA staff based in the UK.
The optimism doesn’t end there. The spokesperson shared PIA’s ambitions to restart Pakistan-UK direct flights shortly. These recent appointments, especially those of the country and sales managers, are in anticipation of the early revival of direct flight services to the UK.
However, not all seems well for the national flag carrier. The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) recently froze PIA’s bank accounts. This decision resulted from PIA’s failure to settle tax dues amounting to more than Rs 8 billion. A whopping 26 bank accounts of the national airline have been sealed.
Further deepening the crisis, the FBR revealed that PIA had assured the payment of Rs2 billion in August towards the Federal Excise Duty. Unfortunately, the airline didn’t keep its end of the promise.
In response to the financial debacle, PIA’s spokesperson reassured that these monetary hitches and subsequent bank account closures would not impede the airline’s flight operations.