Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) will lay off its 3,500 employees under the voluntary separation scheme by the end of December. According to details, the national flag carrier, under its restructuring plan, offered the voluntary separation scheme (VSS) to its 3,500 employees. If the separation of the required number of 3,500 employees is not met through the scheme, then the mandatory separation scheme will be launched in January 2021. A PIA spokesperson said that the excessive employees will be mandatorily retired based on performance, discipline and value addition of the employees. The mandatorily retired employees will not be offered VSS financial package and other facilities. According to the restructuring plan, PIA’s head office will be shifted to Islamabad in the new year. In order to control its human resource expenditures, the airline will reduce its aircraft to employee ratio from 500 to 250 employees per aircraft. Earlier on Tuesday last, PIA mulling lay-off in the national flag carrier to reduce expenditures amid unprecedented worst period for aviation industry worldwide due to Covid-19 pandemic and lockdowns, decided to cut down the number of its employees to 7,500. The sources quoting a report submitted with the Supreme Court in the suo motu case involving the national flag carrier, said that PIA has decided to bring in a mandatory scheme after the voluntary separation scheme. In the next phase, the airline will evaluate the performance and punctuality of its employees, they said. The number of its employees will be brought down to 7,500 after both these schemes are implemented. The sources said PIA will expand its fleet to 35 by inducting six new aircraft in 2021. The airline staff will be bifurcated into two categories, namely ‘core’ and ‘non-core’ with the latter to comprise aeronautical engineers, maintenance and repair as well as kitchen staff while the core category will comprise the marketing, human resources, finance, flight services, and procurement departments.