Pakistan Begins Official Process to Privatize PIA

The formal process of privatizing Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) has been initiated with the issuance of a gazette notification by the government, marking a significant step towards restructuring the national flag carrier.

Sources at the Prime Minister’s Office have revealed that the gazette notification will pave the way for the transformation of PIA into a government holding company, signaling the beginning of the privatization process.

Federal Minister for Petroleum, Dr Moeed Malik, has indicated that the privatization of PIA is anticipated to be concluded by June of this year, demonstrating the government's commitment to expediting the process.

Established on October 29, 1946, as Orient Airways, PIA has evolved into Pakistan's largest international airline, operating a fleet of 31 aircraft and servicing 20 domestic destinations and 27 international destinations across Asia, Europe, the Middle East, and North America.

Originally based in Calcutta, British India, Orient Airways shifted its operations to Pakistan in 1947 following the country's independence. It was later nationalized to form the Pakistan International Airlines Corporation (PIAC), and since then, it has played a pivotal role in connecting Pakistan with the rest of the world.

Over the years, PIA has achieved several milestones, including becoming the first non-Communist airline to fly to China in 1964 and launching the world’s longest nonstop flight by a commercial airliner in 2005.

Despite its achievements, PIA has faced challenges, including a ban from flying in European airspace since June 2020 due to concerns over the authenticity of pilot licenses issued in Pakistan. Subsequently, the airline was also banned by the United Kingdom and the United States.

In addition to its commercial flight operations, PIA owns several properties, including the Sofitel Paris, The Scribe Hotel in Paris, and The Roosevelt Hotel in New York City, which is now being used as a homeless shelter.

The decision to privatize PIA reflects the government's efforts to restructure and revitalize the national carrier, ensuring its long-term sustainability and competitiveness in the global aviation industry.

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