Pakistan International Airline is planning to induct 4 new aircraft in its fleet in coming days. At the same it is starting new flights from Islamabad to Doha, Sialkot to Barcelona and Lahore to Bangkok. This was stated by President & CEO PIA, Air Marshal Arshad Malik during his address to PIA employees at the airline’s head office. The audiences included CBA and union members. He repeated that everything in PIA will be done on merit and he will end reference and “safarish” culture in PIA. Earlier PIA management decided to the add two Airbus A320 aircraft in the first quarter of 2019.
He said we have already started on the fleet enhancement plan and In Sha Allah soon PIA will expand its network and increase its access the world over. He said since he joined PIA his objective is to make it the leading airline with collective wisdom and efforts. He said he was very hopeful of better results as the airline has great potential to rise. We will strictly go according to route rationalization policy and new viable routes will be introduced.
He said that we have started Sialkot-Sharjah and Lahore-Muscat and the results are very encouraging. Very soon we are going to launch flights on Sialkot- Barcelona and Lahore-Bangkok sectors.
He urged the employees to work together as a team. He also said that he was well aware of the problems being faced by the employees, in particular, the low salary structure of employees of lower cadre and assured all that as soon as the airline comes out of the financial constraints their salaries would be revised. He instructed the employees to work for the betterment of the airline without compromising on service standards.
Arshad Malik said that he would personally visit each and every department to discuss the issues with employees. He vowed to maintain merit in every sphere of the airline. He also pointed out that merit shall prevail in PIA with regards to promotions. He thanked the employees’ associations and Union CBA for their valuable support and urged upon them to continue with their contributions towards the betterment of national flag carrier.
About the 4 new planes, it was not clear what type of aircraft will be inducted. Earlier it was said that these A320 aircraft already under the evaluation phase will be acquired on a dry lease as per the press release issued by PIA PR. PIA has already published a tender for wide body and narrow body aircraft to comply with PPRA Rules.
The biggest question is how long it will take to get these aircraft in the fleet and if there will be any demand left in the market by then. The previous management was almost on the verge of inducting Airbus A330 aircraft in the fleet to enhance the Beijing, Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok routes. These A330s were also supposed to be deployed on new routes like Guangzhou, but typically with the management departure, the plan goes on the back burner.
The most important question is that PIA’s engineering is in dire straits and currently the situation is there are multiple planes stuck without parts while the management has decided to get aircraft on lease. It was high time if they decided to spend the money on sorting out their current fleet rather than going after an easy solution.
But PIA is almost back to where it moved during the period of Musharraf Rasool Cyan who improved the utilisation of fleet and managed the schedules without the 4 wet-leased aircraft.