KARACHI: Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) is set to receive A330 aircraft this month from Turkish Airlines for its premier flights to London following the expiry of wet lease of an aircraft of the same make from SriLankan Airlines, sources say.
PIA has awarded a tender to Turkish Airlines through competitive bidding. It has agreed to provide the Airbus at a rental value that is 25% less than the rate at which aircraft was leased from SriLankan Airlines in mid-2016. Turkish Airlines would charge $6,000 per hour compared to $8,100 per hour by SriLankan Airlines, it was learnt.
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PIA Chief Financial Officer Nayyar Hayat told The Express Tribune that PIA had acquired A330 on wet lease - aircraft with crew - from SriLankan Airlines for a period of six months. “[The] agreement has expired,” he said.
The agreement ended in the first half of February 2017.
“We could not extend the agreement as per PPRA [Public Procurement Regulatory Authority] rules and that’s why a new tender was issued,” said Hayat.
Besides, the national aviation policy also bars the national carrier from acquiring an aircraft on wet lease for more than six months.
Sources said three airlines participated in the recent tender in which Turkish Airlines won the bid. The other two were SriLankan Airlines and Portuguese chartered carrier Hi Fly. Earlier, sources said PIA had booked colossal losses in its premier services due to the lease of aircraft from SirLankan Airlines at a much higher rate.
PIA launched its premier services from Islamabad/Lahore to London on August 14, 2016 - the 69th Independence Day. These days, PIA is operating its premier flights with Boeing 777.
Recently, PIA and Turkish Airlines agreed to expand cooperation in flying each other’s passengers to next destinations on connecting flights from February 1.
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PIA kept reshuffling its fleet in a bid to revive the loss-making carrier. In a recent statement, CEO Bernd Hildenbrand said legacy loans were one of the biggest challenges faced by the airline.
Cash-strapped PIA reported in October 2016 that its accumulated losses had increased 2.3% to Rs267.56 billion in the quarter ended March 31, 2016. In calendar year 2015, the losses swelled Rs32.13 billion.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 4th, 2017.
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