The national flag carrier tried to restore much of its lost glory through the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) Premier Service. The new service offered a luxurious experience with new aircrafts, better facilities and a mix of extras such as free limousine service for business class passengers at London’s Heathrow Airport.
Previous reports in the media indicated that the service may have being suspended after news emerged of the national airline sending back an aircraft that was earmarked for the premier service. However, as per PIA Chief Financial Officer Nayyar Hayat told the agreement for wet lease from SriLankan Airlines was valid for a period of six months. Since that agreement has expired, the national carrier is looking at better alternatives to keep the Premier Service running.
The Premier Service was launched around 7 months ago. PIA’s ambitious move to revive themselves suffered a major blow due to billions of rupees of loss and a string of bad press concerning its operations.
Does it look like that PIA might be discontinuing its Premier Service altogether?
Reports suggest that PIA is about to return a wet leased plane from Sri Lanka.
The aircraft in question is a wide-body Airbus-330. Over $19 million has been paid to Sri Lankan authorities over a span of 6 months on account of wet lease. Reportedly, every flying hour for the Airbus-330 cost the national carrier over $8,000. PIA also had to pay the salaries to its foreign staff as well as the lease cost.
The new planes were the face of the Premier Service by PIA. They included a much more professional crew and improved service standards and it was the aim of PIA to provide an altogether different experience to passengers.
According to reports, PIA suffered a loss of Rs. 1.5 billion within the first few months of launching the new, luxurious Premier Service. This included the Rs. 1.29 billion payment as the rent amount on the planes that were taken on wet lease. Meanwhile, around Rs. 1 crore was being paid in London for the above mentioned limousine service for the passengers.
With the high prices and low number of passengers that actually used the Premier Service, PIA was unable to meet the expectations and soon started incurring losses. An official, however, from PIA said that the main reason behind such losses are the wet leased aircrafts.
PIA to Get New Plane on Lease From Turkish Airlines
However, recently reports have emerged that the national carrier might just not wrap up its Premier Service soon. PIA has awarded a tender to Turkish Airlines for the Airbus A330 aircraft for the purpose.
The new A330 has been sought on a wet lease via competitive bidding process. Sources indicate that the new plane will end up costing 25% less than what the national carrier was paying Sri Lankan Airlines for their plane. Turkish Airline will be paid $6,000 per hour for the A330.