Five out of twelve Boeing 777 of Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) are grounded due to various faults. According to sources, PIA has 12 Boeing 777 in its fleet, of which only seven are operational, whereas five are grounded due to faults and damages.
It also includes a Boeing 777-200 LR that supposedly got damaged during anti-hijacking drills two years ago. During the last meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on Aviation, Senator Afnan Ullah of PML-N had raised the issue and inquired about the damaged plane.
To his question, PIA Chief Executive, Air Marshal (retd) Arshad Malik had admitted that the plane was damaged during drills, but it is repairable. He also said that inquiries had been completed in this regard.
According to sources, there are two categories of faulty or damaged planes; some planes have minor damages that may take 3 to 4 months, whereas some planes have major issues that may take 8 to 10 months.
When contacted, a PIA official said that two Boeing 777 would be made operational till mid-March, and one more would be made available for flying in the first week of April.
“By the start of Ramadan, PIA will have eight Boeing 777s operational, which will be enough for Umrah operations,” he added.
The official also said that PIA is doing repair work at its own expense, and the federal government is providing no support in this regard.
According to sources, if the European Union agrees to allow PIA flights from mid of April, then PIA will need all its Boeing 777 to be fully operational.
The national flag carrier’s losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic and Europe flight ban stand at a huge Rs. 50 billion.