The Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) spent Rs 18.7 million on free ticketing on domestic and international travelling from July 2016 to September 2018. It was further revealed that a total of 810 free tickets were issued by the administration of the airline on 339 flights to various stakeholders for domestic and international flights on a cost of Rs 11 million both on economy and business classes. Details further added that Rs 2.4 million tickets were issued free of cost in 2016 to 122 passengers on 58 flights, Rs 5.6 million worth free tickets were issued in 2017 to 356 passengers on 157 flights, and in eight months, 356 tickets were issued on 124 flights costing Rs 10.8 million. According to sources, Rs 926,400 were spent on 12 scout’s duties of PIA during Hajj season. The information further added that PIA has issued tickets to 10 officials of the Spanish Embassy for a Barcelona round trip flights on a cost of Rs 480,000. The information further added that PIA has spent around Rs 0.4 million on 18 flights of its legal adviser visits to different courts of the country in one year tenure. For media projections and visits of social media experts on domestic and international flights, the airline has spent Rs 1.1 million on 20 flights for journalists and social media experts who were flown for different events nationally and internationally. Rs 2.4 million worth of tickets were issued free of cost in 2016 to 122 passengers on 58 flights But in 2018, the airline has only spent Rs 0.9 million for flying various social media experts, officials of the airline and civil aviations through 41 national and international round trip economy and business flights. While inspecting the flight services in two years, 38 tickets were issued to different aviation specialists for the purpose of restoring the flights faults. Additionally, more than Rs 1.5 million were spent on different business and economy flights for the purpose of audit and other official meetings in Pakistan. According to information, PIA Chief Executive Officer (CEO) last month in a presentation to Prime Minister Imran Khan on the crises inside the airline predicated that the airline is in severe financial crises and failed to pay Rs 17.3 billion outstanding dues of the Pakistan State Oil. During the financial year of 2018-2019, the Economic Coordination Committee approved GoP guarantee amounting Rs 24 billion exclusively for engine overhaul requirements. The Finance Ministry further stated that the current level of GoP guarantee, other than engine overhaul, stood at Rs 187 billion, suggesting that PIA should look inwards instead of easy access to borrowing. The Finance Division is also servicing PIA’s debt with a budgetary allocation of Rs 18 billion for the current financial year. When asked from one of the officials of PIA about the free ticketing inside the airlines and its impacts on its already sinking condition, he responded that in the previous tenure, the airlines has awarded free tickets to various stakeholders but now from September 2018, the administration has banned the free ticketing service. “After September 13, no further free tickets were issued and for free tickets now, the only authority is the CEO,” he added. Published in Daily Times, February 14th 2019.