PIA raises US$130m as debts mount
PAKISTAN’S national flag carrier has raised US$130 million in fresh financing from a banking consortium, as the airline staggers under the weight of earlier loans totalling more than $3 billion. Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) said the financing facility was arranged by Pakistan’s United Bank Limited (UBL) and Credit Suisse Singapore as lead bankers, in addition to the state-run National Bank of Pakistan.
“The facility will be utilised by PIA for its general working capital requirements and in improvement in passenger services,” PIA said in a statement.
However, a PIA official requesting anonymity said the fresh loan might be utilised to help settle earlier loans and due payments.
PIA’s cumulative loans stand at around 329 billion rupees, ($3.16 billion). It suffers heavy financial losses annually, posting a 32 billion rupee loss in 2015.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s government tried to privatise the airline earlier this year but its 18,000 employees fiercely resisted.
Two employees were killed in February as police tried to clamp down on protesting employees outside the airline’s head office in Karachi. –