KARACHI: The war of words between PIA and Transparency International Pakistan (TIP) goes on and a PIA spokesperson has again clarified that the allegations raised by TIP are wholly unjustified and misleading regarding the intended leasing of Boeing 737-800 aircraft by PIA.
Firstly, the TIP adviser has wrongly attributed PIA press release about acquiring Boeing 777-800 aircraft, the press release never mentioned Boeing 777-800 as no where such an aircraft is manufactured.
Further, the TIP is repeatedly confusing issue with the PPRA Rule 10 which is not applicable in the PIA case scenario.
This has been repeatedly explained and again being enumerated as under, which should now put to rest the misleading accusations of the TIP.
PIA pointed out that as per PPRA Rule 42(c) sub rule (iii) “where a change of supplier would oblige the procuring agency to acquire material having different technical specifications or characteristics and would result in incompatibility or disproportionate technical difficulties in operation and maintenance, the procuring agency may engage in direct contract.”
The major business thrust behind the intended leasing is to provide much needed operational efficiency in the airline’s domestic, international and particularly, its Haj & Umrah operations.
Presently, the aging fleet of PIA comprises 38 aircraft, out of which at least seven remain grounded for scheduled maintenance or out of service due to technical reasons and bird hits.
The PIA spokesperson has further emphasized that the intended process complies with the PPRA rules. After, thorough debate and deliberation by PIA’s Board of Directors, the selection of the narrow body Boeing 737-800 aircraft has been identified as the most viable business option to ensure short and medium haul related flight economies of scale for which immediate operational attention is needed.
Moreover, conversion time lines and costs such as pilot and simulator training, cabin crew training, engineer’s conversion, and existing shop repair and maintenance facility will be significantly minimized with the selection of this narrow body Boeing 737-800 aircraft.
Moreover, the spare parts inventory between the currently owned B 737-300 and the B 737-800 has a 40% parts commonality further reducing the spares acquisition cost.
Elaborating further, comparative cost analysis with the other compatible available option shows that just pilot conversion training cost is approximately $35,000/pilot as against $600/pilot for B 737-800 and timeline for the conversion training is three months for other options and 2 days for B-737-800.
Besides, PIA will also have to bear huge additional expenses in foreign exchange on engineering and spares by going for other option.