‘No fuel to fly...’ Video of passengers slamming Pakistan International Airlines goes viral (WATCH)
Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) makes headlines once again as a viral video shows irate passengers reacting to flight cancellations due to alleged fuel shortages
A video circulating on social media has 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 follows weeks of turmoil for Pakistan’s national carrier, which had to cancel more than 300 flights due to a fuel and financial crisis.
According to reports, 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. PIA, criticized for mismanagement, faces 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. PIA's spokesperson downplayed the situation, assuring that the management is working to accommodate affected passengers on alternative flights. The ongoing financial constraints have reportedly led to the non-payment of November salaries to nearly 7,000 PIA employees.
Hidayatullah Khan, the airline’s CBA union president, blamed the caretaker government for the fuel crisis, asserting that government actions were responsible. The interim government has announced plans to privatize PIA 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.
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.