Govt planning to buy new planes to make PIA profitable

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The National Assembly was informed on Friday that the government was going to replace the aging fleet of Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) with new aircraft to make it a profitable entity and provide better traveling facilities to passengers.
Responding to a calling attention notice moved by PML-N MNA Nuzhat Sadiq and others, Minister for Defence Chaudhry Ahmad Mukhtar said of 39 aircraft, 32 were functional, while seven had been grounded due to various reasons.
He said PIA was trying to get nine aircraft on lease in accordance with Public Procurement Regulatory Agency (PPRA) rules. He said most of the PIA aircraft were past their useful life and the ministry was planning to get new aircraft on lease to keep PIA functional.
Asked why two aircraft gotten on lease were banned by Saudi authorities, the minister said during the Haj operations, PIA acquired two aircraft on wet-lease basis and earned five million dollars for transporting pilgrims from Burma. However, he did not clarify why Saudi authorities had banned those two aircraft.
To another question, the minister admitted failure of the management to check theft of aircraft spare parts and said efforts were being made to control the theft.
He said by leasing the aircraft, the theft chances had been reduced.
Mukhtar said leased planes had their own crew which further decreased losses. As the minister could not properly respond most of the questions, Speaker Dr Fehmida Mirza directed the ill-prepared defence minister to give a detailed briefing to the House the next day.
Meanwhile, Minister for Religious Affairs Syed Khursheed Shah tabled before the House the career structure for health personnel bill, 2012.
The bill aims at regulating the appointment and the terms and conditions of service of health personnel serving in the federal health institutions of the government.
The minister also laid before the House the annual report of Competition Commission of Pakistan for the financial year ending June 30, 2010.

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