The Pakistani government continues to talk to the Qatari government about the latter taking a stake in PIA - Pakistan International Airlines (PK, Islamabad International). Pakistan's Minister for Privatisation Fawad Hasan Fawad has recently had a series of meetings with Qatari officials, according to The Nation newspaper, with discussions proceeding "in a smooth manner."

Pakistan's government is attempting to partially privatise its loss-making state-owned carrier and has recently appointed a Ernst & Young led consortium to advise on the sale. However, reports of Qatar taking a stake in PIA are not new. Fifteen months ago, ch-aviation reported on plans by the Pakistani government to offer Qatar Airways (QR, Doha Hamad International) a 51% stake (and operational control) of PIA.

An internal Pakistan government report on the partial privatisation says it will involve a large severance payout to an unspecified number of employees who will lose their jobs if the privatisation occurs. PIA's employee-per-aircraft ratio has historically been high. While ongoing efforts have reduced that ratio, the current level is unlikely to be acceptable to a future investor, resulting in job losses. The absence of union agreements on job loss numbers and the subsequent financial payouts (payable by the Pakistani government) remain key barriers to securing uniform support within PIA to sell the stake in it.

The same report identifies PIA's key assets as its routes, landing rights, core engineering services, and air service agreements. The reports identified routes to UAE, Jeddah International, London Heathrow, Toronto Pearson, Rome Fiumicino, and New York JFK as particularly valuable. On the other hand, the age and condition of PIA's 33 aircraft and the investment required to update them detracts from a final sale price. ch-aviation has contacted Qatar Airways for comment.