ISLAMABAD: The State Minister for Defence Sardar Salim Haider on Tuesday informed the Senate that the Board of Directors of Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) have approved a fleet replacement plan.
As per the plan, new aircrafts will be added to the fleet to steer the national carrier into profitability. Replying to various questions, he said that the plan was envisaged for the replacement of an aging fleet of Boeing 747s, Boeing 737-300s and Airbus 310s and bridging the existing capacity deficit.
He conceded that the old aircrafts consumed more fuel as compared to fresh ones and major portion of the organisation’s budget was spent on fuel. Salaries of the employees were only 18% of the total budget of the airlines, he added.
Responding to another question, he said that the prime minister was the final authority to approve the business plan. He said that PIA has also signed an agreement with Boeing to purchase five 777-300 Extended Range on February 14 and these aircrafts will be delivered in 2015. The minister said that it was also decided to induct nine Boeing aircraft on dry lease – a lease arrangement whereby an aircraft financing company provides an aircraft without insurance, crew, supporting equipment etc – to improve PIA’s efficiency and to conduct Hajj operation 2012 in an efficient and orderly manner.
Haider said that all essential and mandatory equipments were installed in the PIA fleet for operation on the existing routes. However, the 747s were not equipped with sophisticated navigation system and were unable to comply with the arrival/departure procedures at Dubai and European destinations.
On another question, the minister said that Shaheen Air International and Airblue were currently operating their flights on domestic and international routes.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 5th, 2012.
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