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PIA to return Airbus 330 leased from SriLankan Airlines

Updated Mar 04, 2017 09:36am
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.