Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) has disclosed its financial results for the first three months of 2023, revealing a significant loss of Rs38 billion. This loss represents a staggering increase of 171% compared to the same period in 2022.
During the first quarter of this year, PIA managed to generate revenue of Rs61 billion. However, various factors contributed to the substantial financial setback. The airline suffered a loss of Rs21 billion due to the depreciation of the rupee against the dollar. Additionally, the rising oil prices and interest rates further impacted PIA’s financial performance.
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The mismanagement of administrative matters also played a role in the airline’s losses, with operating expenses increasing by Rs15 billion to reach Rs43 billion.
One notable factor affecting PIA’s financial situation has been bird strikes. The airline reported 29 bird hits at domestic airports alone over the past five months, resulting in substantial financial losses. In May alone, 10 bird strikes were recorded across various airports, primarily Karachi and Lahore. These incidents damaged a total of seven aircraft, causing further disruptions and expenses for PIA.
A recent incident involving Flight PK-310, an Airbus A320 flying from Karachi to Quetta, highlighted the severity of the issue. Shortly after takeoff, the aircraft was struck by a bird, prompting the captain to request permission for an immediate landing. The affected plane was subsequently taken to the hangar for examination, revealing damage to six blades of its engine. Passengers were accommodated on an alternative flight while repairs were underway.
PIA’s administration has released statistics on bird strikes during the past five months, revealing a total of 16 incidents at Karachi and Lahore airports alone. Other airports, including Islamabad, Faisalabad, Sukkur, Quetta, Peshawar, Gilgit, and Multan, also reported bird strikes. Notably, some incidents occurred in international destinations such as Jeddah and Bahrain.
The airline now faces the challenging task of mitigating losses, improving administrative practices, and implementing measures to reduce bird strike incidents. PIA’s management will need to address these issues promptly to stabilize the airline’s financial position and ensure safe and efficient operations.