PIA weighs Boeing, Airbus for aircraft orders

Updated 22 Nov 2016


Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) is looking at Boeing's 777X and Airbus's A330 and and A350 models as it evaluates options for new aircraft orders, an airline executive told reporters on Tuesday.

"Boeing 777X would be a good option," the airline's executive director of human resources and works, Raheel Ahmed, told reporters on the sidelines of an industry conference in Dubai.

The airline is also looking at the Airbus A330 and A350 models, he added.

As part of its evaluation of potential aircraft orders, the airline was not considering Airbus's A380 or Boeing's 787 aircraft, the latter of which has “some technical issues,” Ahmed said.

PIA would consider purchasing the aircraft directly from the manufacturer and financing the order through a sale and leaseback arrangement. It would also consider a direct leasing agreement, known as a dry lease. A sale and leaseback is when the airline sells the jet to a lessor who then leases it back.

Ahmed did not say when PIA would make the order or how many jets it could buy.

PIA has a fleet of 38 narrow-body and wide-body Airbus and Boeing jets, Ahmed said, with three A310s to be retired on Dec. 31.

Ahmed also said PIA would cut its 18,000 workforce by between 3,000 and 3,500 employees by the end of 2017 as the Pakistan government looks to turn around the loss-making airline and sell-off a 49 per cent stake.

As part of the turnaround, the airline will spin-off four "special business units" from January 2017, starting with its catering business and later its flight training, engineering and courier businesses.

The units are planned to operate independently of PIA with their own general managers and marketing teams, Ahmed said, adding PIA would later look to sell a stake in the units if they're profitable.