Last one year and so after present government brought Air Marshal Arshad Malik on board PIA to revamp it, get rid of corruption, oust Mafias’& pressure groups and most importantly to steer it in the right direction without any interferences saw a whirlwind rise of PIA in national and international scenes.
Whether it was its rise in the stock market after 17 years, bringing back aircrafts to life after couple of years, opening up of around 50 domestic and international routes or getting rid of fake degrees, paying of salaries in time, completing the audit of previous years or bring investigating authorities (Nab,FIA etc) on board to check and unearth wrongdoings.
Air Marshal and his teams performance can easily be gauged by the fact that public started trusting it and papers started supporting it. Accountability became the punchline and merit was the order of day.
One of their key achievements was restoration of trust of International Aviation regulatory authorities. UK Department for Transport conducted most of the inspections as they are the authority to grant passage to passengers or cargo to UK & EU from Pakistan and PIA maximum flight guts are under their scrutiny which travel to EU & UK. UK DfT inspection conduct were extremely successful and compliance to their security protocol was significantly on the rise especially for PIA as mentioned in their reports. And that is the reason that first time the liscence to fly direct was extended from 2 to 3 years. It was not all but also an new station Sialkot was also added as a departure for EU& UK. AM Arshad Malik and his team took advantage of their increased trust and with UK DfT support got two state of the art security scanning machines as a gift worth more then £ 40 million pounds free, out of which one has almost arrived and other would be shipped shortly.
Another security protocol facility which was denied in 2014 by UK DfT, rather PIA was banned for poor performance for few months for carrying cargo from Karachi to UK and a security GM was fired, now for the first time in history has been granted to PIA and that too from all the four international stations of Pakistan.
Transport Cannada also came for inspection and they were impressed by the security measures implementation and PIA got the best ratings in its history.
French team also visited as a preamble to UK Brexit in mid 2019 to Pakistan for the first time with a very clouded Mindset. Their inspection was conducted by Arshad Malik team member and when French security assessment team were leaving, it is reported although they had some reservations/recommendations for CAA and ASF, they had none for PIA and they left impressed which is on record.
Transport Security Administration (TSA) USA is the latest love affair of PIA where they are very willing to come to Pakistan for initiation of direct flights from Islamabad and they were intending to come in a months time.
It needs no deliberation that all the International Aviation Security & Regulatory authorities are always in touch with each other and their assessments are covertly shared. PIA recent upward leaps in these assessments were not just mere stroke of luck or glittery glamorous show off of Air Force uniform but was based on shear professionalism and strict implementation of Aviation Security Protocols by Arshad Malik and his team.
The sources at the diplomatic enclave are also giving credit to PIA for sudden raise in security ratings by UK HC for travel in Pakistan as PIA was instrumental in paving way for itself and British airways for giving updates and analysis on security environments in Pakistan.
UK Department for Transport in consultation with PIA has also planned trial setting up of a new system at Islamabad (3DS) to get verification & checking of passengers in real time at Islamabad airport which would have resulted in less hassle for passengers traveling to UK at their immigrations. This was planned at the end of January 2020 but after AM Arshad Malik has been sidelined, UK DfT have postponed it citing logistical reasons which means actually they are not comfortable with the old wigs coming back to the chair and It has been confirmed and now we can also expect that TSA arrival for direct flights assessment to USA may be delayed or cancelled. Re assessment of few stations from these International Aviation authorities may not come as a surprise.
Strangely Government if Pakistan which brought AM Arshad Malik and his team for revival of PIA is nowhere to be seen or commenting on its performance. It’s strange that Minister for Aviation IR even Prime Minister is not defending this unfortunate team who put their heart and souls into the revival of PIA. What a pity