PIA To Upgrade Its Fleet; Boeing and Airbus are Potential Choices

The national airline is looking to upgrade its fleet of airplanes and is considering either wide body Airbus planes or Boeing planes to do so.

PIA’s Executive Director of Human Resources, Raheel Ahmed, told reporters in Dubai that Boeing 777X would be a good choice, adding that Airbus A330 and A350 are also being considered.

PIA is expected to buy the new planes through a sale and lease agreement. They would have the manufacturer sell the plane to a lessor who will then lease the planes to PIA. This way they can avoid paying a large upfront amount for getting the planes and instead lease it off of a third party.

PIA could also directly lease the planes from the manufacturer, as a dry lease.

Not to be mentioned, PIA earlier confirmed that it will buy Boeing 787 Dreamliners.

No Specific Time Given For The Purchase

Mr. Raheel did not say when they are going to buy these planes.

Right now PIA has a fleet of 38 planes with both narrow and wide-body Airbus planes and Boeing planes. Three of the Airbus A310 planes will be removed by December 31st this year.

The Human Resources Director further added that PIA was going to decrease its workforce by 3000-3500 employees by December 2017. An attempt by the government to decrease the losses incurred from the airline and sell a 49 percent stake of the company.

PIA later clarified that the figures shared by Raheel were incorrect and it has not been decided yet that how many jobs will be cut and in what duration.

Privatization of PIA

A meeting between the national airline and Pakistan Privatization Commission was held yesterday. According to a senior PIA official, the purpose of the meeting was to decide the best restructuring model to somehow make PIA a viable entity.

It was decided that the restructuring would be done in two phases with the first phase to be completed within 3-6 months. The first phase will have PIA privatize non-essential units followed by the essential units.

The essential units would be more gradual. The first four special business units will be restructured starting January next year. It would include flight training, catering, engineering and courier businesses.

These units will become independent of the PIA and would operate on their own. They would have their own general managers and marketing teams as well. The airline could sell a stake in these units if they are profitable.

Via Reuters

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