PIA - Pakistan International Airlines (PK, Islamabad Quaid-e-Azam Int'l) must be restructured to ease the burden of its losses, Prime Minister Imran Khan has said during a meeting with the cash-strapped carrier's top management.

PIA is currently losing about PKR6 billion rupees (USD36.3 million) per month due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Pakistani leader's office said in a statement on June 8. The situation demands that the process of reform and restructuring at the national airline be accelerated, he said.

Against the backdrop of the recent crash of one of the airline's A320-200s in Karachi last month claiming 98 lives, which investigators have blamed partly on pilot error, PIA CEO Arshad Malik gave a briefing on the carrier's deteriorating financial condition.

He said that the wage costs of 14,000 employees eat up PKR24 billion (USD145 million) a year. He presented a detailed roadmap for reform and timelines for its implementation.

Malik blamed the slow pace of reforms at the airline so far on PIA having ten chief executives in 12 years and he himself being forced to fight for his job in the courts for three months from December. As previously reported, in March the Supreme Court of Pakistan allowed Malik to continue in his position, despite calls for him to step down due to his military rather than civil aviation background.

Special attention should be paid on cutting costs, increasing revenues and financial resources, selling or better utilising PIA-owned domestic and foreign assets, and overhauling the fleet, Khan directed.

The ch-aviation fleets advanced module shows that, since the recent disaster, PIA is left with eleven A320-200s, five ATR42-500s, five ATR72-500s, six B777-200(ER)s, two B777-200(LR)s, and four B777-300(ER)s. It has five more B777-300(ER)s on order from Boeing.