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Updated December 18th, 2023 at 23:39 IST

WATCH: Passengers slam Pakistan International Airlines over fuel shortage

An undated video circulating on social media captured the alleged frustration of passengers towards Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) staff.

Digital Desk
PIA
An undated video circulating on social media captured the alleged frustration of passengers towards Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) staff. | Image:Unsplash
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An undated video circulating on social media captured the alleged frustration of passengers towards Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) staff, who reportedly informed them of flight cancellations due to a lack of fuel. The authenticity of the video is yet to be verified. This incident followed weeks of turmoil for Pakistan’s national carrier, which had to cancel more than 300 flights due to a fuel and financial crisis.

PIA cancels flight, Passengers angry

Pakistan State Oil (PSO) cut fuel supplies to PIA due to unpaid dues, resulting in the cancellation of 322 flights, including 134 on international routes since October 14, according to the reports. PIA, criticized for mismanagement, faced financial challenges amid the government's struggle with a balance of payments crisis and mounting debt repayments.
 

The extensive flight cancellations have left passengers distressed. The situation was downplayed by PIA's spokesperson, assuring that efforts are being made by the management to accommodate affected passengers on alternative flights. The ongoing financial constraints have reportedly resulted in the non-payment of November salaries to nearly 7,000 PIA employees.

The airline’s CBA union president, Hidayatullah Khan, blamed the caretaker government for the fuel crisis, asserting that government actions were responsible. Plans to privatize PIA have been announced by the interim government as part of a broader strategy to privatize state-run companies. PIA's liabilities, amounting to 743 billion rupees (approximately $2.5 billion), reportedly exceed its total assets by five times, according to Bloomberg.

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Established in 1955, PIA faced challenges after the liberalization of the market and the emergence of private and public airlines in the 1990s. The airline, once on a path of rapid growth, has suffered losses over the years and faced setbacks such as strikes, hijackings, and accidents, including the fatal Airbus crash in Karachi in May 2020, claiming 97 lives.

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Published December 18th, 2023 at 23:39 IST

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