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PIA board okays acquisition of seven planes


Mar 5, 2010
LAHORE, Aug 17: The Pakistan International Airline (PIA) board of directors has finally approved acquisition of seven planes on lease this year.

According to an official, the board members, in their last week meeting headed by PIA Chairman-CEO Air Chief Marshal (retd) Rao Qamar Suleman in the chair, unanimously approved acquisition of five Boeing 737-800 on dry lease for three years, and two Boeing 777 on dry lease for five years on ‘most favourable’ terms.

“The planes will be acquired in a couple of months considering the additional capacity requirement during Haj and Umrah and to cater to charter demands of the UN and military,” he said, adding an additional wide-body aircraft with seating capacity of more than 450 would also serve as a backup during unscheduled groundings.

Under the Fleet Replacement Plan 2020, PIA had envisaged induction of additional two Boeing 777 family aircraft in 2012 and three in 2013.

“PIA has signed an agreement with a company in February this year for the purchase rights for five additional Boeing 777 family aircraft. The new Boeing 777 aircraft will be delivered in 2015 while the requirement of the plane is in 2012, therefore PIA has decided to acquire two Boeing 777 as per Fleet Replacement Plan on dry lease next month as a bridging arrangement.

The aircraft will also be utilised to support Haj 2012 operation from Peshawar and Quetta,” he said.

Earlier, PIA had floated tender for acquisition of 39 narrow-body aircraft as per the Fleet Replacement Plan in December last year. The tenders were opened in January this year and all bids received were substantially declared ‘non-responsive’ to the tender. Therefore, PIA management decided to maintain and utilise its own fleet during 2012.

“To meet the additional capacity requirement of four aircraft and for arranging capacity to replace the Boeing737-300 aircraft under maintenance it had been decided to float tender for up to eight Boeings. One Boeing737-300 has been permanently grounded which increased the immediate requirement of five aircraft,” the official said.

PIA board member Syed Omar Sharif Bokhari told Dawn that the fleet of seven aircraft would support and sustain the existing operation and to meet the additional capacity requirement.

Brushing aside objections from some quarters over the acquisition of new aircraft, Mr Bokhari said that PIA had met the rules of the Public Procurement Regulatory Authority for acquiring the aircrafts.

“These aircraft will not only meet growth in demand on domestic, gulf and regional network but also provide support during the interim period till the availability of aircraft delivery slots offered by the manufacturer,” he said.

Bokhari further said the chairman was taking aggressive steps to improve the condition of the national carrier. “Acquisition of seven new aircraft without any delay on lease shows the commitment of the new head of PIA who has also introduced a travel plan that will save Rs120million annually for the airline on domestic routes fuel cost,” he said.
PIA board okays acquisition of seven planes | DAWN.COM

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