LAHORE: The Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) will invite tenders next week to acquire 10 narrow-body planes on dry lease.
Officials told Dawn on Monday that the national carrier has finalised a plan to acquire 10 narrow-body aircraft and the process would be completed by this Sept/Oct.
The airline is in dire need of planes. Of its 34 planes, nine have been grounded.
The PIA had acquired four aircraft on wet lease (Turkish and Czech Republic airlines) that would be replaced with three on dry lease in this July.
Special assistant to the prime minister on aviation Shujaat Azeem said that the addition of 10 fuel efficient narrow body aircraft will help improve the financial health of the national flag carrier.
Besides, they will help phasing out the old aircraft and compete with foreign airlines and restoration of old routes where PIA flights suspended due shortage of fleet.
“The revival of the PIA is the top priority of the government and efforts are being made to turn it around as early as possible,” he said, making it clear there would be “no lay-offs”.
“The fear of lay-offs in PIA is based on rumors. The government is aware of the economic issues and it is not in favour of lay-offs in PIA. The employees are its assets their contribution is needed to steer the airline out of the financial crunch,” he said.
Mr Azeem said that he would meet with all the unions and associations for their contribution towards the betterment of airline and said: “With their help we will achieve our objectives. We believe in consultation and not confrontation.”
He assured that there would be no political interference in the smooth functioning of the airlines besides the management would observe zero tolerance for corruption.
Meanwhile, the Joint Action Committee of PIA Employees has welcomed Azeem’s appointment. The committee’s convener Suhail Baluch said the aviation sector should be run on professional lines.