In the latest development of the ongoing Pakistani pilot scandal, an internal audit from within Pakistan International Airlines has found the airline’s pilots to be overpaid and underworked, in light of exceptionally low productivity, and exorbitant overspending on luxurious hotels.
The report, compiled in collaboration with PIA and the Pakistan’s Civil Aviation Authority, stated that the productivity of the airline’s pilots was “extremely low with respect to industry standards”.
Further, the report acknowledged that PIA pilots were “highly paid”, also noting their generous allowances, despite the fact that up to 81 per cent were “not even completing their flying hours”.
“There is no accountability mechanism that ensures maximum output from the cabinet/cockpit crew,” it said.
Meanwhile, the report found little oversight into where the pilots and cabin crew choose to stay on their overnight layovers, which has resulted in staff opting for luxurious and expensive hotels that have cost the airline “billions of rupees” over the years.
“The expenditure is totally unjustified,” the report states, as staff continue to ignore more sensible options, in favour of exorbitant ones.
In one instance, according to the report, during an overnight layover in Karachi, the crew chose to book rooms in a five-star luxury hotel, despite the fact that PIA owns a hotel in the city “with a capacity of 300 rooms”.
Similarly, when PIA crew travelled to stations overseas, they opted for luxurious hotels over more budget-friendly ones, which in itself has cost the airline nearly US$2.42 million.
The report added that the transfer postings of cabin crew are currently not based on merit, and recommended changes.
In the report’s final recommendations, it suggested that the hotel arrangements for both cabin crews and pilots be reviewed, and that hotels be pre-approved and situated close to airports “to save funds”.
It also suggested alterations the perks and pay scales of PIA pilots.
This comes as investigations continue into the validity of Pakistani pilot licences, which was launched following allegations that pilots in the nation had been paying for others to sit for their written pilot exams in their place.
The matter is currently with the Islamabad High Court.