Is PIA salvable?

Hithchiker

MEMBER
Joined
Nov 19, 2017
Messages
617
Reactions
738 28
Country
Pakistan
Location
Saudi Arabia
It would be very poignant for the veterans at our national airlines to view the Emirates inaugural flight video that is doing the rounds on social media. Like a spent star watching with mixed emotions the first performance of a youngster she gave a break to, PIA can only reflect on what was and lament the fact that the time and the crowds have passed her by.

Read 'Flying high on celebrities'

Our national carrier was the star of the airline industry, giving stellar performances, rarely fluffing her lines. In her heyday, like an actor in her youth with an insight in to what is sellable, PIA knew exactly how to please the crowds, she was the leading lady, the talk of the town. No it wasn’t only branding or advertising; yes, they were amazing, but they were strongly backed up by a service oriented organisation.

Can PIA make a comeback and again be the darling of air travellers? I’m sure that if there is one brand most people in Pakistan would love to see resurrected it would be PIA. We love nostalgia, we remember the 1992 World Cup win and dream of being top of the world again. Similarly, we see those wonderful PIA ads and we fall in love all over again.

Recently, I and other members of the Khalid Alvi Marketing Next Facebook page had an amazing opportunity to interact with a legend in the aviation industry, Richard Bates. Bates, who had been hired to work for PIA by Shaukat Aziz in 2009, has built some of the most popular airline brands, including, Emirates, Etihad and Virgin. Before that he worked for agencies such as FCB, Grey and Saatchi.

So what did he reveal to us? First off he spoke about getting the basics right – no not price, promotion, etc. As he put it: “Let me state very simply, before you even start on marketing an airline, you need to ensure that it fulfils the basic hygiene factors, it must be safe, secure, clean and punctual.”

He highlighted the role of the staff and was impressed that almost all of their staff had never worked for another airline. He emphasised that the top man is key and that for an airline everyone, from the CEO to the janitor, is responsible for service delivery. For PIA to regain its lost glory, it needs to highlight the core values that all Pakistanis share whether in Houston or Vehari.

When asked whether PR could work or whether digital media had changed the scenario for PIA, he was very clear: “The reason Emirates and Singapore Airlines are among the most highly rated global airline products is that they have jealously guarded their product integrity. It may now be as cheap as chips to tell the world about yourself via digital media, but the fact remains that in order to stand out from the crowd, you need a product positioning which is both solid and contemporary.”

Bates placed importance on excellent customer service as well as believing that marketing is not a department, but everything a company does or fails to do. Another area he highlighted was that dead weight (in the form of over-staffing) was a major threat to a resurgent PIA. He spoke about how British Airways under James Hogan went from a staff of 50,000 to 30,000, but all the 30,000 were in his words- “were absolutely convinced that the customer was their ultimate boss.”

"Dead weight (in the form of over-staffing) is a major threat to a resurgent PIA."
— Richard Bates, Former Director Special Projects, PIA.

Bates was probed whether he believe PIA was salvable. To the surprise of many of us, he say he firmly believed the airline could return. The formula according to him? If the will of the staff is mobilised by a visionary leader, to create an airline that is relevant to the travelling needs of all major segments. A PIA offering based on not only nostalgia but something more tangible – service you can rely on, day after day. Now, the people in that kind of company would really be great people to fly with.

Tyrone Tellis is a marketing professional working in Pakistan. tyrone.tellis@gmail.com

https://www.dawn.com/news/1374779/jousting-for-support-pakistans-bid-to-keep-cavalry-sport-alive
 

Scorpion

THINK TANK
Joined
Nov 27, 2014
Messages
3,082
Reactions
2,264 29
Country
Saudi Arabia
Location
Saudi Arabia
What is the current fleet of PIA. I for no reason would never book any flight outside of Saudia & Lufthansa. The issue PIA and many other airlines face is the overgrown fleet of Emirates and Qatar at competitive price. PIA can fly from ME to Asia roundtrip but will never be able to attract passengers to the USA, Canada or Europe. The reason is that it stops in Pakistan and I think a lot would prefer to visit Dubai instead of landing in Pakistan and camping in the airport. If Pakistan can improve its tourism and attractions, expands it airports and renew its fleet then it is another story.

I wish you the best.
 

I.R.A

MEMBER
Joined
Nov 21, 2017
Messages
561
Reactions
846 73
Country
Pakistan
Location
Pakistan
believing that marketing is not a department, but everything a company does or fails to do.
Excellent and brilliant statement. This made my day.

As long as PIA remains a vote bank tool in the hands of incompetent politicians and a hub of political appointments ..... there is no chance of its revival. The whole revival would be a lengthy one ......... reverse, remove, introduce, implement and start competing.


What is the current fleet of PIA. I for no reason would never book any flight outside of Saudia & Lufthansa. The issue PIA and many other airlines face is the overgrown fleet of Emirates and Qatar at competitive price. PIA can fly from ME to Asia roundtrip but will never be able to attract passengers to the USA, Canada or Europe. The reason is that it stops in Pakistan and I think a lot would prefer to visit Dubai instead of landing in Pakistan and camping in the airport. If Pakistan can improve its tourism and attractions, expands it airports and renew its fleet then it is another story.

I wish you the best.

Pakistan has some of most amazing tourist sights / destinations plus its a country full of rich history and historical sights.

And if you don't mind me saying ........ PIA is mother of Emirates, Oman Airline etc.
 

Scorpion

THINK TANK
Joined
Nov 27, 2014
Messages
3,082
Reactions
2,264 29
Country
Saudi Arabia
Location
Saudi Arabia
Excellent and brilliant statement. This made my day.

As long as PIA remains a vote bank tool in the hands of incompetent politicians and a hub of political appointments ..... there is no chance of its revival. The whole revival would be a lengthy one ......... reverse, remove, introduce, implement and start competing.





Pakistan has some of most amazing tourist sights / destinations plus its a country full of rich history and historical sights.

And if you don't mind me saying ........ PIA is mother of Emirates, Oman Airline etc.
Indeed I don't doubt that. Pakistan is a beautiful country with so many things to see. I have not been there but I have seen many videos and pictures of tourists destinations in Pakistan. Saudis are currently not allowed to travel to Pakistan unless by permit obtained from the ministry of interior. What Im trying to say is that there is a little put into tourism infrastructure and development. PIA is indeed old, if I remember correctly it was the first office of foreign airlines to open in Saudi Arabia Khurais road. But it has declined dramatically. With the introduction of new fleet of the UAE and Qatar now even Saudi airlines feels threatens.
 

I.R.A

MEMBER
Joined
Nov 21, 2017
Messages
561
Reactions
846 73
Country
Pakistan
Location
Pakistan
Saudis are currently not allowed to travel to Pakistan unless by permit obtained from the ministry of interior.
Your interior ministry or our's? )0-0(

But it has declined dramatically.
Political appointments deprived of any merit, rampant unchecked corruption and over staffing ruined it. Pakistan Railways isn't that different a story.
 

Scorpion

THINK TANK
Joined
Nov 27, 2014
Messages
3,082
Reactions
2,264 29
Country
Saudi Arabia
Location
Saudi Arabia
Your interior ministry or our's? )0-0(



Political appointments deprived of any merit, rampant unchecked corruption and over staffing ruined it. Pakistan Railways isn't that different a story.
Our ministry of interior. It was a step taken to tackle terrorism. Some Saudis used to travel and then sneak into Afghanistan. Now no visa is processed unless by permit.
 

Top