This time it's true.
Solidly based on a business plan developed for the first time in a decade, PIA is in the midst of implementing the first phase, V1 as its called after the V1 Velocity that an aircraft achieves on the runway before committing to fly, to turn around the company in 18 months and achieve profitability by 2022, if not earlier. The operating reports from last couple of months confirm PIA’s upward trajectory. The strength of the plan can be seen in the positive results seen as sales rose by 29% since the month of October 2017, and growing every day. Efficiency and innovative solutions fuelling organic growth being pursued, alongside a culture change towards enhanced customer satisfaction and experience, greater accountability, and human resource management (the hallmarks of PIA’s Business Plan for next Five Years, suitably called ‘Fast Forward’).
With a 67% and growing market share in the domestic market, Pakistan International Airlines, is already the national market leader, carrying millions of passengers over largest domestic network, covering all parts of the country. Now the aim is to gain glory on the international realm. In this endeavour a clear roadmap till 2022 has been outlined in the recently launched Business Plan. With a turnaround of the airline promised in 18 months, work is in full gear to achieve the goals.
“I see PIA dominating the skies again! I see it clearly and I see it surely! And my confidence comes not from things we promise but things we have already delivered and are every day accomplishing to bring a positive change,” Dr. Musharaff Rasool Cyan, CEO PIA stated as he discussed the present and future of Pakistan International Airlines.
Moving from a Bureaucracy to an Agile Business Enterprise
The global context of the airline industry in which the airline companies find themselves operating is evolving rapidly and has moved away from airlines being merely transport to a lifestyle. After all, travel is a life style. To become globally relevant, PIA is changing its business practices and has set clear set of targets till 2022: Increase the fleet from 36 to 43; Increase the revenue by almost 100%; move from an operating loss to an operating profit of 6 Billion; and increase direct networking points from 50 to 57 and virtual network to over 100. PIA also has set itself a new vision, a truly global profitable airline while being the pride of Pakistan, with customer centricity and excellence in everything as the guiding principles.
Using the same customer centricity inspired “Glocal” approach; PIA is changing its culture towards greater accountability, efficient human resource management, and enhanced focus on the reason for being in business, the customers. The airline is now embarking upon the most drastic transformation of its business model yet, shifting from a purely point to point model towards a Hybrid Hub and Spoke Model, to provide greater flexibility to the passengers through convenient connections, greater number of frequencies and attracting non ethnic international passengers as well via gateway of new Islamabad International Airport. This model is not just better to serve the customer, but also is much cost effective which will contribute towards airline’s sustained profitability. A strong attention is being given on creating efficiencies and improving services, targeting Skytrax rating to 4 stars by 2022 from current 3 stars.
Gaining Velocity 1 (V1) Speed
V1 is the speed at which the aircrafts reaches and the pilot commits to fly! It is the momentum just before taking off. Very aptly, this is the name of the first phase of the actions towards the Big Change.
“The engines are revved, we are on the runway and well on our way to gain maximum speed to take off. We are committed to fly to great heights,” remarked Dr Cyan, as he introduced the V1 initiative.
Understanding that importance of making changes in the shortest time, the V1 initiative outlines a roadmap for immediate improvements to ensure immediate drastic improvement in services. Over 40% of the activities have already been rolled out. The activities include cabin look enhancement; ground staff customer services and cabin crew refresher training; IT transformation for improved customer touch points and ease in interacting with PIA; focus on direct selling channels; new uniform for ground staff; new revenue accounting systems; Rebranding of PIA and increased digital footprint of PIA; and formulation of controls for revenue leakages.
To date PIA has rolled out 7 refurbished aircrafts; human resource management has ensured a leaner machine with higher efficiency; trainings are underway in partnership with Qatar Airways; new designer ware uniforms have already put been in use with the cabin crew while other ground functions following soon. The digital footprint has enhanced to a point where third party analytics portals Meltwater and Quintly have rated the social media for PIA as number 1 amongst all Airlines in the world and number 1 in all categories in Pakistan. Recent Baby onboard and Christmas Festivities have gone viral and have achieved accolades from all corners of the world. Infact the Christmas Onboard Celebrations started a movement across the border whereby secular factions of the society, quoted this gesture as a representation of Pakistan as a tolerant and harmonious society.
Customer Service touch points is also seeing improvements and increased engagement and interaction is being observed through SMS, Call Centre, App and Social Media Platforms. Rebranding of the aircrafts, the flying global billboards, is also underway with new fresher look and feel, contemporary but tied to our rich legacy and lineage.
Pakistan International Airlines the Pride of Pakistan
As the proud carrier of the national flag, PIA is close to the hearts of the nation. It is therefore, important to listen to what the people want for their travel and lifestyle needs. In this regard a nationwide survey was conducted to gauge the need of the travellers. The results of the survey were then transformed into actionable points, almost of all of which now are part of PIA’s V1 initiatives.
The initiatives taken are already getting noticed internationally and are getting the accolades. The most premier aviation magazine, Airliners World, has featured PIA on the cover page in their first edition of the year citing the same.
PIA is spreading its wings once again... to soar high in this world like it has never before.
It is our pride, our national identity, and one of the country’s most valuable asset. We all have to play our role in ensuring that it flies high, to newer limits, waving our flags all across the world, making us proud once again.