ISLAMABAD: Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) plans to expand its fleet with the purchase of 40 new planes over the next five years, Defence Minister Ahmed Mukhtar said on Thursday.
Mukhtar told the parliament that the planes were needed to arrest PIA’s growing deficit. “If PIA does not buy new planes, it will have to close down,” Mukhtar said. “When we have new aircraft, deficit will come down as we will be able to increase the number of flights.”
The state-run airline currently services domestic and international routes with a fleet of Boeing 777, Boeing 747, Airbus A310, Boeing 737 and ATR-42 aircraft.
Mukhtar said that the defence ministry would submit the plan to the federal cabinet this month, but did not give details of the purchases.
He said that the PIA was not receiving any government subsidies, but had taken out bank loans that it was currently repaying.
PIA suffered a loss of $135.8 million in the first nine months of the year, according to its third-quarter financial report posted on the airline’s website. Accumulated losses stood at Rs88 billion.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 5th, 2010.
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