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PIA to return Airbus 330 leased from SriLankan Airlines

Updated Mar 04, 2017 09:36am


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The aircraft was taken away from PIA’s fleet into engineering where the National airline’s logo was removed. —Photo by author
The aircraft was taken away from PIA’s fleet into engineering where the National airline’s logo was removed. —Photo by author

Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) is likely to return its London-bound premier service Airbus 330 aircraft, which was wet leased from SriLankan Airlines, having already paid $19 million for it.

The aircraft was taken away from PIA’s fleet to the engineering department where the national airline’s logo was removed.

PIA had been allegedly paying $8,000 per flying hour for six months as part of the wet lease, it has been learnt.

The acquisition and subsequent return of the plane has raised many eyebrows in regard to the ethical nature of the decision taken by PIA — which lately has been embroiled in a lot of controversy.

Aviation sources told DawnNews that seat and load factors for the premier service were allegedly not according to plan.

Meanwhile, PIA Spokesperson Daniyal Gilani said that the aircraft was obtained on market rate without any legal violations.

“The aircraft was new and according to the necessary requirements,” the spokesperson maintained.

“The amount paid in the lease also takes into account the salaries of the foreign staff and any other associated expenses,” he added.

The sources further said that PIA will now operate the premier service through Boeing 777 aircraft, which the airline has seven in its fleet.

The London-bound premier service was inaugurated on August 14, 2016, by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

As part of the service, passengers landing in London were offered limo rides to their respective place of stay from Heathrow Airport.


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Comments (35) Closed

KT Mar 03, 2017 04:31pm

Emirates has purchased best Air Planes from Airbus so should PIA

Falcon1 Mar 03, 2017 04:50pm

Yet another failure of the PIA management and yet, not heads are rolling, no justification for ill-conceived plans, poor executions and bad decision making.

What else do you want to do, to see the end of PIA altogether? It has no business viability to keep flying while draining millions every day.

Time to bite the bullet and admit the failures.

ahmed Mar 03, 2017 04:51pm

What to say about our PM who inaugurates road interchanges, announces gas for a village and leased airplanes which has to be returned after six months?

ABE Mar 03, 2017 04:53pm

@KT = "Best Air Planes" cost money. Does Pakistan or PIA have unlimited funds like Emirates?

Be realistic. Don't compare Pakistan to Dubai all the time. You can't even compare PIA to Sri Lanka. Even Iran Air is better equipped and managed - without foreign help. Whereas PIA is paying 28000 Euros a month for Mr. Hillenbrand's salary per month and this is the result? Any decent Pakistani retired Air Force Officer or CEO, can deliver better results.

Dil Dil PAKIstan Mar 03, 2017 04:52pm

PIA should reduce its cost by reducing no of employes.

IMTIAZ ALI KHAN Mar 03, 2017 04:53pm

@KT Emirates was Created by PIA. Now Sadly massive corruption roots to all the problems of Pakistan also cause havoc to the present state of affairs of PIA :(

Abood Mar 03, 2017 04:56pm

@KT .emirates only has boeing and airbus A380s rest are all retired.

Mohajir Mar 03, 2017 04:59pm

@KT Where is the money ?

Mahmood Mar 03, 2017 05:02pm

I bet even Bangladesh Biman is better managed and not bleeding like PIA.

Asif Kashmiri Mar 03, 2017 05:06pm

PIA is the worst airline I have ever flown with

Gaz Mar 03, 2017 05:10pm

@KT have you gone crazy. What difference will the best planes make when you have a corrupt PM running the country who then puts in corrupt people below to run every state institution.

sid Mar 03, 2017 05:28pm

PIA needs to invest in better planes... I heard a story about them ordering new 787s for delivery in April - is this fiction or non fiction?

Skeptic Mar 03, 2017 05:28pm

@sid - A better car, in the hands of bad driver and poor mechanic will still crash and fail to live up to its performance.

PIA has to have funding to buy even used planes, 787s are fairly new and expensive. Even Emirates or Eitehad are not buying 787s.

Iftikhar Husain Mar 03, 2017 05:39pm

Why there is a change in policy.

Naveed Mar 03, 2017 05:53pm

I don't have any doubt that big kickbacks were involved.

Just Someone Mar 03, 2017 05:55pm

@Skeptic : All new planes will be expensive. But 787 are very fuel efficient. They will be great for PIA if we can run them on most commonly used routes with a high load factor. Passengers will start coming back.

BhOot Mar 03, 2017 06:03pm

@Dil Dil PAKIstan And then you'll start complaining about the lack of service on PIA flights.... ever heard of the guy who reduced one slice of tomato in every salad served on his fleet of planes and turned around to make it a multi million profit making airlines? His name was Richard branson. Here's a free business lesson for you..... never cut costs, mange your expenses instead.

Ahmad zubair Mar 03, 2017 06:40pm

PIA should buy its own new Planes.The finance can be arranged & the terms are not so difficult as commonly thought.

MUSTAFA Mar 03, 2017 06:41pm

May be there was no proper arrangement in the aircraft to facilitate standing passengers. PIA is pioneer in taking standing passengers in its flight....

Skeptic Mar 03, 2017 06:47pm

@Just Someone - It's not new or older planes that ails PIA. It is the poor service, bad attitude of the crew, mismanagement of resources, poor planning, the image, the political interference and the ruined reputation.

Newer planes will not make any difference if the same incompetent people are managing the company.

M. Malik Mar 03, 2017 06:51pm

All those advocating PIA shell out $ billions for newer, more expensive planes - money which it does not have, but will have to borrow at steep terms - have no clue why PIA Is in the dire straits it finds itself.

If you had any business sense, you wouldn't just offer simple solutions to a problem that has been three decades in the making. The list of wrongs is too long at PIA.

faisal Mar 03, 2017 07:14pm

It is a total Govt failure and they have appointed a useless Management. Just like the Country I am sure PIA would be performing outstandingly on papers. Very sad state of the affairs over all. We need young energetic leadership who love Pakistan.

HaMAAD Mar 03, 2017 07:15pm

The corrupt mindset that prevails all over the country no doubt thrives rampantly in PIA. No amount of spending on new air crafts will alleviate its malaise.

Asif Ali KhAN Mar 03, 2017 07:31pm

Public lies not corruption destroys the nations. A nation can survive with immorality but not with liars leaders.

Irfan Mar 03, 2017 07:46pm

Currently passengers are being asked to pay extortionate amounts to travel on PIA. We all know the service is a absolute disgrace. For example in April return tickets from Heathrow are £800 while Middle East airlines charge around £700 . PIA needs to be completely sold off and all its employees laid off. Restructure the whole national airline and give it a brand new name. So many faults with its airports and employees the government need to take a long hard look at its incompetence and corruption. Learn from Heathrow on how to give customer satisfaction and emirates on punctuality and reliability

Ali Mar 03, 2017 07:53pm

Airbus 330 is being phased out by many airlines as its fuel consumption is high. PIA had ordered additional Boeing 777 five years back, but has not take delivery yet. Therefore, Boeing company offered PIA Boeing 787 Dreamliner instead, the latest which is 25% more fuel efficient. This is excellent offer which must be accepted as Boeing 787 has proven to be in great demand by passengers and airlines worldwide.

desi Mar 03, 2017 07:59pm

PIA has two problems that need to be fixed if it has to survive. First over staffing and second poor customer service. Industry average is under 300 employees per aircraft, PIA's is around 800. No business can survive with this vast difference. A one time massive employee cuts need to happen with no future employment based on favoritsm and nepotism. As far as PIA's customer service is considered, the less said the better.No employee ever thinks that their salary is being paid by the passengers. From cabin staff to ground staff, rudeness is very common.They dont even smile when you look them in the eyes. When you treat people with no respect, people will choose other options. This is exactly what happened on North America route. Pakistanis are now choosing Emirates, Etihad or Qatar to fly back to Pakistan. Nobody even thinks of flying by PIA anymore. No CEO can fix PIA's problems until these issues are fixed. And since government keeps on pumping money in PIA,things will never improve.

M.Saeed Mar 03, 2017 11:14pm

What a wonderful deal! almost $ 20 million or about 10% of the cost of the jet has been paid by PIA in just about 6 months of use! What a fabulous rate of return!

shafi Mar 04, 2017 01:01am

Ohh c'mon, its an AirBUS, how can it go wrong? Why go with Boeing, boeing doesnt allow standing passengers but AirBUS does.

Ahsan Gul Mar 04, 2017 06:54am

No one has concerns how PIA is squandering Pakistan money. Business means that PIA is making money way up then what they owe to lenders. Drastic manpower cuts and a streamlined process is needed to make the only national PIA airline profitable.

Deshmukh Mar 04, 2017 07:10am

Why PIA is so desperate. to take an air craft on lease, when they know their limitetionsof financial, technical,skill of flying etc. Any one who wish to travel abroad can go to nearest destination like Sharza,Abudhani and board an international flight to reach Landon. Why this foolish step of taking an aircraft on lease.

Fayyaz Mar 04, 2017 07:26am

@desi Dear friend do you think is it good to travel midlle eastern airline rather than our own .if all pakistanis start disowning pakistan what will happen .it is not just PIA it is all Pakistan we cant compete qatar or itihad .and i tell u one thing we should stop looking towards others banglow we should be proud of our own little home because it is our emirates or etihad cannot bring traped people from libya for you.only your own airline will so stop hateing national assets

M. Emad Mar 04, 2017 08:04am

Airbus 330 too sophisticated aircraft to operate by PIA.

Syed Ahmed Mar 04, 2017 09:46am

@sid yes heard 2 but nothing shows in order list of beoing company, still show 3 ( 777 300 er) or if nothing coming & going

T Ramanathan Mar 04, 2017 10:11pm

It's sad and disheartening to read the current plight if PIA. Let sense prevail in the thinking of the government of Pakistan and the team managing it's national airline. No ordinary citizen of this great Country Pakistan who contribute to the state coffers should be victimised due to the wicked acts of a handful of wrong thinking people.