PIA General Manager for Public Affairs, Syed Sultan Hasan told APP that, “most probably first of the additions to the national carrier will be in 2012 and this may be a Boeing.”
Initially 30 new planes will be acquired on a five-year lease, the PIA official said, elaborating that this deal includes an option to buy the same. With the option to buy later the plan is conceived to be cost-effective.
He said the government has approved an over all outline for the scheme and PIA was presently engaged in working out modalities to get the plan materialised.
“Idea is to turn PIA profitable with focus on cost cutting measures, in each and every respect, without compromising quality,” he said in reply to a question.
To another query, he the concept has already been approved and the specifications are being worked out.
“The plan is scheduled to be completed by 2020,” said PIA’s GM, Public Affairs.
“This procurement would be through financial institutions without any budgetary allocations or special government funds,” he said in answer to a query.
Sultan said all 30 planes would be directly procured from the manufacturers of Boeing and Airbus aircraft.
As for resources to get quality expansion in the carrier’s existing fleet, he said Pakistan International Airlines makes all its transactions through commercial banks.
He said the actual cost for the procurement could be determined once transactions are finalised as each plane has its own specifications.
“Our priority would be that these are modern, fuel efficient and operationally cost effective,” said the GM Public Affairs, PIA.
Syed Sultan Hasan was extremely confident that PIA would manage to generate adequate funds to pay for the lease amount through its own resources.
“We would look for new and profitable international routes as there are plenty that are to be tapped particularly in Africa and Australia,” he said.
Sultan said an extremely prudent approach will be adopted with due consideration towards the fact that PIA is currently serving only native passengers on its domestic sector.
The official said PIA while competing with private airlines on most of the domestic routes is catering to the needs of people belonging to remote areas as Gwadar, Pasni, Chitral and other northern destinations as its national responsibility.
“These are non-profitable routes and therefore no other private airline has ever expressed its interest to run flights to such destinations,” he said.
Hasan also referred to Hajj service undertaken by PIA every year as its religious and national obligation.
“A hundred thousand to 125,000 passengers (Hajis) are transported to and from Pakistan to Jeddah every year with little consideration towards any profit,” he said.
In reply to a query about PIA’s current “Cost Cutting” strategy, Hasan said PIA has embarked upon a plan of restructuring under which core work and non-core work would be bifurcated.
Non core workers are being actively involved in schemes that are equally beneficial for them and PIA, he said.
He also said that down-sizing is not the solution as cutting down employment adds to unemployment with a negative impact on the economy.
“PIA believes in adequate management of available resources,” he said.