Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) recently inducted 4 wet leased Airbus A320s into it’s fleet. 3 of these narrow bodies landed at Jinnah Terminal, Karachi on the 3rd of August. All of these planes belong to the Vietnamese budget carrier Vietjet. Although these planes have been leased by PIA for a period of 3 months, the lease period can be extended for a further 3 months on both the parties’ mutual consent. As Pakistan’s current aviation policy only allows airlines to wet lease planes for a period of 3 months.VN-A689 landed at Jinnah Terminal, Karachi at 11:07 PM as ferry flight VJ-9895 from Tan Son Nhat International Airport, Ho Chi Minh City. Similarly, VN-A668 landed at 11:18 PM local time as ferry flight VJ-9893 and the last bird from Vietjet Air arrived at 11:42 PM bearing registration number VN-A699 as delivery flight VJ-9897.
The manufacturer serial number of this A320 is 4190. It was first registered with Olympic Air of Greece as SX-OAT in a 12 business class and 138 in economy class configuration in February 2010. It is equipped with CFM56-5 engines and has been in business for the past 7.5 years. It got dry leased to Vietjet Air in November 2012 in an all economy (180) configuration and got registered as VN-A689.
This plane’s manufacturer serial number is 3791, and is past the halfway stage into it’s 9th year of operations. This A320 was first registered with Kuwait’s Wataniya Airways as 9K-EAB in a 26 business and 96 economy class seating in February 2009. It comes equipped with CFM56-5 engines and was dry leased in December 2011 to Vietjet Air. Here it got it’s current registration ID i.e. VN-A668 in an all economy configuration for 180 passengers.
This narrow body’s manufacturer serial number is 4193. Olympic Air of Greece was the first operator of this plane, who got it way back in February 2010. They registered it as SX-OAU with a 12 business and 138 economy seating arrangement. Just like the previous 2 birds, it is also serviced by CFM56-5 engines. Vietjet Air dry leased this plane in January 2013, and registered it as VN-A699 in an entirely economy (180 seats) plan.
PIA operations out of the woods?
The addition of these narrow bodies augurs well for PIA in bridging the gap left by the departure of 4 wet leased Pegasus 737-800 planes a couple of months back. PIA faced a lot of problems both on the domestic as well as a few international routes due to the non-availability of aircrafts. Frequent flight cancellations, rescheduling of flights and even merging 2 flights on some sectors was slowly becoming a norm. These planes will make life a lot easier for PIA in the short period and help smoothen up flight operations on both domestic as well as international routes.
Their arrival also relieves the work machines, i.e. the 4 777s which were juggling between Hajj and domestic flights, as now they will be fully deployed on the Saudi routes. The same holds true for flights on the UAE sector because now the wet leased A320s will replace 777s on these routes as well as the money minting domestic Karachi – Islamabad route, which will see 6 daily frequencies against the meagre 2 currently.
By looking at the above facts, it can be safely concluded that even a few narrow bodies can make a huge difference in helping an airline surge ahead. All that is required is some dedication and proper planning on the management’s part.