PIA plans new products to improve its business

DUBAI — Newly-inducted Chairman of Pakistan International Airlines Tariq Kirmani has said the airline is exploring new destinations worldwide and soon will introduce new products to improve its passenger business.

By Muzaffar Rizvi

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Published: Thu 11 Aug 2005, 10:30 AM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 4:13 PM

"The airline is introducing new products. It recently launched a new product called “Dubai Special”, offering reduced and attractive fares for passengers who fly to Dubai in the morning and return Pakistan in the same evening," Tariq told Khaleej Times in an interview.

To a question about fleet expansion plan of the Pakistan's national flag carrier, he said the PIA has been operating with ageing planes so far which has been a major drawback.

But now things are changing and recently acquired Boeing 777s has brought a welcome change. "The PIA is a launch customer of Boeing's 777-200 LR. The airline will have two state-of-the-art 777-200 LR aircraft in January 2006, which will have the capability of flying non-stop for 22 hours," he added.

Kirmani, a corporate veteran with over 35 years of multi-faceted experience in the marketing sector, said that the PIA will continue to improve its passenger business by making its service more caring and are structure mote attractive while steps are being taken to expand cargo business dramatically.

“We will pick up cargo from China, whose GDP is growing annually at the rate of 11 per cent, and its exports to different destinations”, he said. The PIA, he said also enters the group tours business in a big way.

“Well will try to get tourists from China, Japan and South Korea to the Northern parts of our country, such as Taxila and Nowshera, where there are traces of Buddhist periods. Likewise we will attempt to get the Sikhs living in Canada, USA and Europe to visit Lahore and places of religious importance to them,” he maintained.

He said there is need to project a soft image of Pakistan and this will be done with the help of Humsafar and the in flight video. By bringing more tourists, more will be contributed to the economy and the soft image of the country, he observed.

To a question about process of reorganisation and revamping of PIA, Tariq Kirmani said he would like the image of the Airline to change. It should be a positive image — that of a progressive airline, an emblem of efficiency.

"That was the image of the airlines many years ago, but somehow we veered away from it. Now we are determined to regain that position. We have already branding the airline, changes have started coming in, but the impact of our plans should be felt in about a couple of months," he said.

When asked about competition with the private sector having entering the airline business, the PIA Chairman pointed out that competition is there in every business and it has been a decade since private airlines had started operating on domestic routes, of late, they have got some regional routes also.

He said PIA is basically a service provider and its job is to transport

passengers. In this context, we have taken the three Cs —convenience, comfort, and competitive fares — with renewed zeal.

Kirmani said competition is good for the customers, and it is also good for the companies. "Monopoly breeds complacency and lethargy. PIA will ultimately gain from competition”, he said.

When asked that now when the airline is planning to bring in more foreign travellers into the PIA net, will alcohol be introduced on the flight, Kirmani said the vast majority of passengers want to travel in comfort and wish to have good cuisine and alcohol is not on the priority list of an overwhelming majority of passengers.

Many airlines, he pointed out, don’t serve alcohol on board for different reasons and they are doing fine.

Highlighting his vision for the future, the PIA chief said our vision is to make PIA a world class profitable airline, whose employees are dedicated and committed to excellence. Their aim will be to exceed the expectations of the customers, the chairman concluded.

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