ISLAMABAD: With the induction of another Airbus- 320 to Pakistan International Airlines in less than a month, the crisis-ridden national flag carrier will now be operating with a fleet of 26 airworthy aircraft.
Under the ongoing plan to revamp PIA, the airline’s management plans to enhance its operational fleet of to 35-36 aircraft by next year.
Secretary Aviation and Acting Chairman PIA Muhammad Ali Gardezi told reporters at the Islamabad airport that the airline would add one more plane in the first week of next month on a short-term wet lease -- a term used for a leasing arrangement whereby one airline provides a lessee not only the aircraft but complete crew, maintenance, and insurance.
One A-320 plane was added on June 29th. The fourth one of the series -- narrow body and fuel efficient aircraft -- will join the PIA fleet in October. These aircraft are being acquired on dry lease, Gardezi said.
The PIA management expects to have seven to10 more aircraft inducted in its fleet by December, this year.
“Our aim is the revival of PIA as desired by the Prime Minister of Pakistan Nawaz Sharif and under the guidance and supervision of Mr. Shujaat Azeem, Advisor to the Prime Minister on Aviation, the airline is moving in the right direction,” said Gardezi, who was given additional charge as acting head of PIA in August last year.
He said that with the induction of these latest technology fuel efficient aircraft, the airline will be in a better position to offers services to its passengers, while at the same time it would benefit PIA in terms of fuel savings, which is a major cost factor for the airline.
According to him, the main reason for PIA’s losses was cost of fuel as it was using fuel guzzlers on short routes. PIA’s losses are estimated at Rs100 million per day.
He contested a common perception that having a huge number of employees was a key reason for the losses. With over 19,000 employees PIA has one of the highest employee-to-aircraft ratio in a world that runs to over 700 employees per plane.
He claimed that the portion of employee salaries in total expenditures of airline was only 17% while fuel costs over 50%.
Managing Director PIA Shanawaz Rerhaman sharing his views on the occasion said that with the induction of aircraft in the PIA fleet will be able to restore flights frequencies and introduce new destinations for the convenience of passengers.
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