PIA Leasing Two Boeing 747 from Saudi Airlines
KARACHI: The Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) has finalised arrangements to take two Boeing 747 aircraft from Saudi Airlines on wet lease to smoothly run the upcoming Hajj operations, sources said on Tuesday.
The aircraft would reach Pakistan before September 19, the day PIA would fly its first Hajj flight.
Moreover, the national flag carrier has also restored its non-operational aircraft in hangers for want of spare parts, the sources said, adding that the airline has already received engines for a Boeing 747 and a Boeing 777 and spares for other aircraft would arrive shortly.
The entire fleet would be ready before September 19, they said. The PIA management has decided to hire Boeing planes for Hajj operations after a committee recommended leasing the aircraft preferring it to airbus due to the operational reasons.
Earlier, this year, the board of directors has formed a committee to finalise acquiring commercial planes on lease, the sources said.
However, PIA’s plan of leasing aircraft was jeopardised as the airline ignored the Pakistan Procurement Regulatory Authority (PPRA) rules, they said.
PIA invited bids through an international tender and short-listed two bidders but the Transparency International (TI) highlighted that certain PPRA rules were overlooked and stressed upon the national flag carrier to go by the book.
The new management, which took over in May, embarked upon streamlining the operations amid clear warnings from Jeddah airport authorities over delays in Hajj and Umrah schedules, they said.
The immediate remedy suggested, by the employees’ unions and association was acquisition of aircraft of the same make PIA already has to augment its regular schedule, Umra and Hajj operations.