Delta Airlines earned over about $56,000 profit per employee in 2015. Pakistan International Airlines earns about $36,000 in revenue per employee. But employees feel they aren’t well-compensated enough for their contribution, and are fighting against privatization which they fear could undermine their compensation, benefits, and no show jobs.
Financial performance per employee is “the lowest among 72 listed peers tracked by Bloomberg — making it the world’s most overstaffed by this measure.”
Pakistan is required to privatize the airline under terms of an IMF loan. Of course the longer that’s put off, the more loss-making quarters private investors will realize.
Employee protests have turned violent in clashes with police involving rubber bullets, water cannons and tear gas.
With the airline’s operations crippled, they do not even know where stranded passengers are.
“We have no data available on how many and where passengers with confirmed PIA tickets are waiting, because the entire system is shut, servers are down and no booking is being done,” spokesman Danyal Gilani said by phone.
For perspective, “Travelers are all too familiar with the problem of airlines misplacing their luggage. But it’s less common for carriers to lose track of large numbers of actual passengers.”
When the airline does know where it’s stranded passengers are, they don’t do particularly well either such as sending all of their passengers by bus to another airport over 160 miles away, only to have them turned away and sent back. Passengers have shown up in Lahore only to be told their flight was ‘really leaving’ from Islamad. And when they got to Islamabad they learned, “just kidding.” It seems that when PIA employees are forced to overnight passengers at a hotel at the airline’s expense, the employees earn kickbacks from those hotels.
Fortunately in this case,
PIA has made efforts to find all of its stranded passengers. It has agreed with Etihad Airways PJSC and is in talks with Turkish Airlines to fly passengers stranded in Europe, the U.S. and Canada, Gilani said. Saudi Arabian Airlines is helping fly back 2,000 passengers from the kingdom.
If the price of oil wasn’t plunging, the airline might be able to obtain a rescue from Etihad which likes to buy stakes in very troubled carriers with union problems (like Alitalia!) in exchange for pushing traffic through its Abu Dhabi hub. But the Gulf carrier hasn’t pulled the trigger on an investment in South African Airways, and things there haven’t even turned violent.
(HT: Point Me to the Plane)