Fuel Bills: Pakistan state airline grounds dozens of flights over fuel bills

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan‘s embattled nationwide airline service this week cancelled dozens of home and worldwide flights as a result of it couldn’t afford to pay its gas payments, officers stated Wednesday.
State-run Pakistan Worldwide Airways (PIA), lengthy accused of being bloated and poorly run, has discovered funds drying up as the federal government struggles with a steadiness of funds disaster attributable to crippling debt repayments.
Athar Awan, a deputy spokesman for PIA, stated 48 worldwide and home flights have been cancelled on Tuesday and Wednesday “as a consequence of non-availability of gas”.
“The explanation for the disruption in gas provide is non-payment of dues as a result of PIA is dealing with a monetary disaster and can’t pay the dues to Pakistan State Oil on time,” a PIA official talking on situation of anonymity informed AFP.
Many years of mismanagement and instability have hobbled Pakistan’s financial system, and this 12 months Islamabad was pressured into one more bailout from the Worldwide Financial Fund (IMF) to avert default.
The interim authorities has stated it’ll unload the airline as a part of a wider privatisation plan for state-run corporations.
“The method of privatisation for the nationwide airline needs to be made extra clear and expedited to stop additional monetary losses to the nationwide exchequer,” caretaker Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar stated in an announcement final week.
A senior official at Pakistan State Oil (PSO) stated the state-owned gas provider was “offering gas for less than flights that PIA has prioritised”. He, too, was talking on situation of anonymity.
PIA had agreed this week to pay the oil agency 100 million Pakistani rupees (round $360,000) day by day to cowl its dues, the PSO official stated.
“On Wednesday PSO acquired a cost of 150 million rupees in return 26 flights have been refuelled”, the official added.
In an announcement, the airline stated it anticipated regular service to renew from Thursday, after it paid for gas “from its personal sources”.
The airline didn’t present additional particulars.
Bloomberg has beforehand reported that PIA had liabilities of 743 billion rupees (round $2.5 billion), exceeding its whole property by 5 occasions.
PIA got here into being in 1955 when the federal government nationalised a loss-making industrial airline, and loved fast development till the Nineteen Nineties.
The airline’s status was additionally battered by a collection of strikes, hijackings and accidents — together with the crash of an Airbus in Karachi in Might 2020 that killed 97 passengers and crew.

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