Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) is reportedly planning to slash half of its workforce, replace some of its aircraft and change the network in order to make the flag carrier financially viable. 

According to Bloomberg, Pakistan’s government granted final approval for PIA’s restructuring plan, which would permit the airline to slash half of its workforce from the 14,000 people that are currently employed. However, due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, around 1,900 employees were already offered to leave under the voluntary furlough scheme, according to the PIA annual financial report. 

In addition to workforce cuts, PIA will reportedly change the network by cutting unprofitable routes and would replace old airplanes with more fuel-efficient ones. 

AeroTime News has reached out to Pakistan International Airlines for comment and did not receive a response at the time of publication.

Planespotters.net data indicates that Pakistan International Airlines has a total of 27 aircraft with an average fleet age standing at 14.7 years. The fleet consists of eight Boeing 777-200 aircraft, four Boeing 777-300ERs, 11 Airbus A320-200s and four ATRs.

In its last full-year result report, the cash-strapped PIA disclosed a pre-tax loss of Rs35.5 billion ($232 million) and an operating loss of Rs680 million ($4.4 million) in 2020. The airline also marked that the operating environment remained challenging due to the COVID-19 pandemic as well as “unprecedented bans” imposed by various governments.

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The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has extended a ban on Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) for 90 days.