The recent suspension of fuel supply to Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) at airports in Multan, Sukkur, and Gilgit has plunged the national flag carrier into deeper financial turmoil. This unfortunate situation has already led to the cancellation of 14 flights connecting Multan, Karachi, Sukkur, Islamabad, and Gilgit. The main reason behind this distressing development is the mounting unpaid dues owed by PIA to Pakistan State Oil (PSO), amounting to a staggering Rs650 million, as per their agreed schedule.

 Mounting Debts and Borrowing Challenges

In an effort to stay afloat, PIA had turned to banks for a much-needed lifeline, seeking a loan of over Rs7 billion. This amount is crucial for the airline’s survival, as it faces the looming threat of partial or complete suspension of flight operations due to its severe financial crisis. Surprisingly, no bank has shown interest in providing the financial support that PIA desperately requires. The financial challenges PIA faces extend far beyond unpaid fuel bills, highlighting a deeper and more complex issue.

International Troubles Loom

The financial struggles plaguing PIA have reached international shores. Operations in key overseas locations like Jeddah and Dubai have been affected due to halted fuel supply, and Pakistan’s state-owned oil marketing company PSO has refused to provide fuel to the airline. Additionally, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) may suspend PIA’s membership at any moment, which could further isolate the airline in the global aviation community. These international issues add to the urgency of addressing PIA’s financial crisis. Moreover, the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has issued notices to the airline, compounding its woes.

Plea for Government Intervention

In a letter addressed to the Ministry of Finance, PIA has made an earnest plea for government intervention. The letter, sent by the General Manager Funds Management to the Deputy Director Division, urgently calls for the Ministry of Finance to step in and instruct banks to provide a loan of Rs7.5 billion under the government’s guarantee. This plea underscores the dire need for immediate financial support to rescue PIA from its financial tailspin.

Mixed Signals on PIA’s Fate

The confusion surrounding the future of PIA has been exacerbated by contradictory statements from government officials. While the caretaker privatization minister announced that the government would not ground PIA or lay off employees, interim Finance Minister Dr. Shamshad Akhtar expressed the government’s commitment to supporting the airline. These differing messages have fueled uncertainty about the government’s stance and plan for the national carrier.

A Lifeline Sought for PIA

With the airline’s financial crisis reaching critical levels, PIA had previously requested a moratorium on repaying its domestic debt to bridge an annual deficit of Rs153 billion between its sales and essential expenses. Discussions between PIA management and the Ministry of Finance regarding the restructuring of the airline’s domestic debt are ongoing. The outcome of these discussions could significantly impact PIA’s future.

Government’s Dilemma

The government holds a 92% stake in PIA, and its fate is of paramount concern. Dr. Shamshad Akhtar emphasized that the government may consider restructuring PIA’s debt, but the final decision rests with the privatization minister. The government faces a challenging decision regarding how to stabilize and rejuvenate the national flag carrier.


Pakistan International Airlines is navigating a severe financial crisis marked by fuel supply cuts, mounting debts, and borrowing challenges. The government’s response will be pivotal in determining the future of this national institution. PIA’s woes are emblematic of the broader challenges facing the aviation industry, and finding a sustainable solution is paramount to its continued operation and success.