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Fifth column

October 2, 2011

80 aircraft for PIA soon: MD

Opinion

October 2, 2011

PIA Managing Director Nadeem Khan Yousufzai has said that the PIA will soon have a fleet of 80 aircraft without the government s financial support or guarantee.
Blaming fluctuating fuel prices for the losses, he said that the National Carrier was facing Rs 130 billion deficit at present, some of which was loaned amount and the rest operational debt. However, he claimed that, under his leadership, he would be able to get the PIA back on track in one year and drive the airline to break even by the next 5 years. Addressing a press conference at a local hotel, the MD said that PIA s recent issues with the aircrafts had been blown out of proportion by the media. Explaining the failure of the engine of the ATR aircraft, he said the failure was not a result of any negligence in maintenance but a result of an inherent industrial fault in the aircraft. He said that the manufacturing company of ATR had acknowledged this fact and had agreed to give 60 percent discount on the repair and modification of ATR engines.
He said that the PIA had made special arrangements for the Hajj operation this year. He mentioned that 1,20,000 passengers would be flown through 305 flights for Haj this year. The PIA tried to buy in exclusive landing/takeoff slots but that could not be materialized. But the PIA had booked a Haji camp in Jeddah close to the airport so that, in case of delay in any flight, the Hajis would not be bothered by being stranded at the terminal, he said. Their luggage would be transported before them to the airport to reduce their hassle. This year, the PIA had arranged a janitor on every flight, he added. He said the PIA s aircrafts had technical issues to a certain degree due to glitches in the procedure of procurement of aircraft spares. The new deal with the spares company was a great reliever in this regard, he said, stating that they would give the PIA a credit window for $ 700 million, which would help speedy provision and better maintenance. The airline

would benefit 15 to 20 million dollar through this deal.

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