Thursday, December 06, 2012

Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) to bring down age of its old fleet, improve reliability

KARACHI: Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) management’s immediate goal is to bring down the average age of PIA’s fleet and improve reliability and punctuality by on time departures and arrivals along with providing world-class customer service to the valuable passengers.

PIA spokesman said on Thursday PIA under the present management has barely had few weeks in office however it has started a process of fleet modernization and revamping its entire service to turn around in shortest time period the ailing airline with its new business model.

The tender has been floated for five narrow body aircraft with delivery of at least four aircraft in first and one in second quarter of 2013 to meet the capacity shortfall. However the airline has not finalized acquiring any particular type of aircraft.

PIA received offers for both Airbus A320 and Boeing 737-800. However A320 offers are larger in number as compared to Boeing 737-800. Presently these offers are being evaluated and no final decision regarding induction of either narrow-body aircraft has been finalized.

Tender for these aircraft has not been awarded and the evaluation process is still not complete. It is therefore premature to assume which aircraft or engine type will be inducted.

Managing Director PIA Muhammad Junaid Yunus invited Transparency International Pakistan (TIP) to monitor the bidding process.

Representative of the Ministry of Defense, Employees’ Unions including SAEP were also present in the financial and technical bid opening process. The PIA has taken TIP on board the evaluation process of not just this tender but in fact all future tenders would be forwarded to TIP for scrutiny.

Furthermore, fuel costs are taking a 55 percent toll on the airlines revenue. Newer aircraft provide fuel savings up to 50 percent for a route flown as well as lower maintenance costs. PIA’s sixty three percent operation is on short haul routes, within four hours of flight time. PIA is following a clear point-based system where points are awarded based on fleet commonality and availability of present apparatus for overhaul of engines.

PIA cannot afford to wait years on end to suit the schedule of a particular vendor or manufacturer. Any further delay in the induction of new aircraft will result in the delay of the turn around of the airline, which was noted by the Board of Directors and government.