Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) is planning to shut down its Technical Ground Support department (TGS) in the upcoming years. In this respect, PIA has signed agreements with different ground handling agencies to take over this department.
Sources associated with TGS confirmed that the PIA management is not willing to continue to invest in their department.
Technical Ground Support Responsibilities
TGS provide for the many different types of special utility vehicles that are responsible for servicing the aircraft.
To service and handle the aircraft, passenger steeps, Lobe loaders, Moving Conveyor Belts, Ground Power and Ground Air-conditioners are gathered, with a Tug Master (towing tractor) and other equipment as needed.
“These special utility vehicles are the 2nd most expensive equipment after the aircraft. Airlines wish to invest in aircraft instead these expensive vehicles which are available on rent as well.” a senior aviation official disclosed to ProPakistani.
PIA Signs Agreement with Gerry’s for Support Equipment
The official also told ProPakistani that PIA recently signed an agreement with Gerry’s Dnata for equipment sharing. According to the agreement, PIA and Gerry’s Dnata will share equipment as needed. In practical terms however, PIA will be the sole company to make use of the equipment.
“PIA plans to hand over small stations on a trial basis. In first phase, Peshawar airport’s ground handling responsibilities will be partially handed over to Gerry’s Dnata.”
PIA spokesperson Mashood Tajwar also confirmed the news about equipment sharing at the Peshawar airport. He admitted that PIA is currently facing a shortage of ground handling equipment.
“Yes there is shortage of aircraft servicing equipment and to overcome this situation, PIA will share equipment with other agencies. On Peshawar airport, we have sought the help of Gerry’s Dnata to overcome the shortcomings.”
Ground handling used to be one of the profitable businesses of PIA in the past. However, due to lack of investment in TGS, PIA lost this business as other companies stepped in to handle ground handling operations.
Currently Shaheen Airport Services, Royal Aviation Services and Gerry’s are some of the biggest ground handling agencies working on Pakistani airports and have proven to be very profitable.