RAWALPINDI: One of the two Airbus A320 aircraft the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) had acquired on dry lease from the Bank of Utah, the US, landed at Islamabad International Airport on Tuesday morning.
The other aircraft is expected to arrive within a couple of weeks, according to a PIA spokesman.
With the addition of these two Airbus A320s, the national flag carrier’s fleet will increase to 29 aircraft of different brands.
The spokesman said PIA had floated tender for acquisition of aircraft on lease. He said the two aircraft acquired on dry lease from the Bank of Utah were manufactured in 2017 with passenger capacity of 170 seats.
Fleet will expand to 29 aircraft with the arrival of second plane this month
The PIA has planned to upgrade its fleet with new versions of fuel-efficient latest technology aircraft. The process of inducting aircraft had slowed down due to Covid pandemic and prevailing aircraft industry crisis worldwide, according to the airline spokesman.
Air Marshal Arshad Malik, chief executive officer of the national flag carrier, while sharing his views on delivery of the first A320 aircraft said that PIA’s aim was to provide best services to its customers with fuel efficient, latest technology aircraft.
He congratulated the airline management for inducting the aircraft in such difficult times. He also thanked the government, particularly the finance ministry, PIA Board of Directors and Minister for Aviation Ghulam Sarwar Khan for their support in this regard.
Air Marshal Malik instructed PIA engineering and concerned departments to immediately fulfill all necessary requirements and to bring this aircraft into operation as soon as possible.
Meanwhile, Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority has issued fresh instructions for flights passing through and entering the airspace of Afghanistan.
Just a day ago, the PIA had operated its first chartered passenger flight to Kabul after the Taliban takeover.
A notice to airmen (NOTAM) issued by the Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority asked pilots to maintain a distance between aircrafts due to the non-availability of the air-traffic control system at the Kabul airport.
NOTAM is a notice to alert aircraft pilots of potential hazards along a flight route or at a location that could affect flight safety.
In accordance with the guidelines of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), three NOTAMs were issued by the Pakistani aviation authority.
Under the instructions, two aircraft must maintain a distance of 15 minutes longitudinal spacing from preceding traffic at the same level in Kabul airspace.
It said the planes entering Afghanistan airspace should ensure the implementation of Kabul’s Flight Information Region (FIR). The NOTAM issued on the request of Kabul said that Primary Surveillance Radar (PSR) and Secondary Surveillance Radar (SSR) are fully functional. There will be no delays for arrival and departures.
It has been advised that flights follow the standard procedure of ICAO whereas the pilots shall ensure the implementation of ICAO’s laws for emergency descent.
Published in Dawn, September 15th, 2021