ISLAMABAD: As part of government’s vision to cap the losses of state-owned Pakistan International Airlines (PIA), Prime Minister Imran Khan has approved the purchase of additional planes for its existing fleet, a press release issued by the airline’s spokesperson said on Wednesday.
According to the press release, the decision was taken during a meeting of the aviation division a day earlier. The meeting had Aviation Minister Ghulam Sarwar Khan, Adviser to the Prime Minister on Finance Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, Aviation Secretary Shahrukh Nusrat and PIA Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Air Marshal Arshad Malik in attendance.
During the meeting, the premier was given a detailed briefing by the CEO on the future aircraft requirements of the national flag carrier as well as its business plan.
According to Malik, overall 12 new planes will be added to the airline’s fleet by 2023.
“In the initial stage, four planes will be added to the fleet by 2020,” he informed the prime minister, adding that the planes will be medium-sized and “will be used for domestic and regional routes of travel”.
Malik further disclosed that the size of PIA’s fleet will go up to 45 by 2023.
Following the briefing, Prime Minister Imran gave orders for the improvement of the airline’s operations and an increase in travel facilities. He also directed the finance ministry to cooperate with PIA for the purchase of the new aircraft.
It merits a mention here that at the end of the January-March 2019 quarter, PIA announced that it had come out of losses at the operational level as its revenues slightly exceeded the operating cost in the quarter that ended March 31.
“PIA has achieved breakeven at the operational level,” adviser to PIA CEO had told a private media house at the time.