How can PIA be brought out from doldrums?

PIA, the “Pakistan International Airlines”, which was once a top-notch Brand in the airline world, can be seen in absolute doldrums. It is severely criticized for its obsolete aircrafts, bad customer service. Rather than the cliché of criticizing the airline, this article will present realistic and cost-effective solutions for PIA, since privatization seems apparently impossible for various reasons, Staff cannot be fired, fleet cannot be expanded and if expanded then only on wet lease or dry lease on terms that can never generate revenues. Cherry on the top, the government also cannot afford to give generous bailout packages anymore. Therefore, PIA has to think out of the box and use their present resources effectively. Here are some innovative approaches PIA can undertake to, say, increase their revenues:

1. No In-Flight Entertainment (IFE) needed

Recently in one of the press releases, the current CEO of PIA was reported saying that there will be an investment of 700 million to make the in-flight entertainment (IFE) operational again in the Boeing aircrafts. However, it seems as an unnecessary investment. Where the airline is short on money for the necessary aircraft parts, the IFE is merely a luxury. Furthermore, PIA operates multiple types of aircrafts on international routes such as Airbus A320, Boeing 777 etc. and if the IFE is offered in some but not the others then the uniformity of in-flight services comes in jeopardy and it plays somehow with the expectations of the passengers who are flying on multiple routes. The passenger would just stay confused on what to expect and what not to. Furthermore, licenses for the movies to air in-flight cost millions and if this is done for just a small number of flights then the license overheads will be huge which could bring the airline in further losses. On the other hand, if the airline decides to only offer handful of movies and songs then that is not going to play well either and would still be a disappointment for the passengers. Rather than this, passengers should be informed via email prior to their flights that there is no IFE system as part of cost-cutting (inform them how much IFE costs to the airlines) and passengers are rather offered cheaper tickets to the passengers on the direct flights. Optimally, advice passengers alternative easy ways to keep themselves entertained throughout the flight such as: bring a book to read, downloaded games or movies to play and watch offline. In this way, people wouldn’t be disappointed and protest and would have alternative arrangements to keep themselves entertained throughout the flight.

In this way PIA keeps its uniformity of services across its aircrafts and saves millions and troubles of maintenance and license costs for the IFE.

2. Re-design the business model

Currently, premium airlines for example like Lufthansa also targets passengers not willing to pay much money for the flight by offering flights with minimum services like restricted luggage, no food, no change in booking etc. Of course such minimal cost of the tickets do not benefit airline monetarily immediately but that does allow airlines to fill-up their seats and allow passengers to travel with PIA, who could otherwise not afford to travel with the costly tickets and there is a chance that these passengers would travel with PIA later with the normal services and pay the ticket price, PIA charges now.


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