RAWALPINDI: Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) has been operating a fleet of 32 aircraft – six of which are currently under maintenance – with an average age of 11.8 years on international and domestic routes.
Of the fleet, 12 Boeing 777s, 11 A320s and nine ATRs have been flying to more than 30 destinations. The six grounded aircraft include one Boeing 777, two A320s and three ATRs.
The PIA used to have a fleet of 64 aircraft of various makes, including the Airbus A310, A300 and A330, the Boeing 737 and 747 and the Douglas DC-9 and DC-10. That number has now decreased to 32.
A PIA spokesperson, Mashood Tajwar, told Dawn that of the 32 aircraft, 26 are still flying while six are under maintenance.
He said the airline needs to expand its fleet to meet the increase in passengers that has affected other airlines, the PIA included, since the closure of a private airline.
The shortage of aircraft and closure of an airline has also led to a rise in fares, causing difficulties for a rising number of passengers.
“None of the airlines operating in the country have increased their capacity in line with the increasing load of passengers,” he said.
An engineer associated with the airline said the maintenance of aircraft has been neglected under previous governments, but the present government is concentrating on spare parts for aircraft, which will help reduce losses and make it possible for more planes to operate.
The unavailability of parts, even light bulbs, causes problems for cabin crew and passengers.
“We did not get light bulbs due to the unavailability of parts in the recent past, but the situation is now gradually improving,” he said.
Published in Dawn, December 27th, 2018