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PIA's new CNG Fleet

PIA's new CNG Fleet

KARACHI: Some 30 new CNG powered aircraft will join Pakistan International Airlines fleet by 2020, bolstering its current fleet to 70.

PIA General Manager for Public Affairs, Syed Sultan Hasan said, “most probably first of the additions to the national carrier will be in 2012 and this may be a CNG Boeing.”

Initially 30 new CNG 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.

Balochis will be robbed of their natural resource and the Shamsi Airbase will be made a CNG refueling airbase. He said that PIA planes will refuel their CNG engines when regular consumer CNG stations will be shut in cities of Pakistan. He said that

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.

“The 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.

A flying CNG pump will also be launched for refueling in the air.

“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. CNG powered planes will be cost-effective” he said. PR

Engine Infobox:

GE Aircraft Engines to power PIA’s new fleet of CNG Boeings

GE Aircraft Engines will supply Pakistan’s national carrier, Pakistan International Airlines (PIA), with GE90 engines to power the airline’s new fleet of eight long-range Boeing 777 aircraft.

In the deal, valued at US$400 million, GE has agreed to begin delivery of the world’s most powerful CNG engine to PIA in 2004.
PIA, a long-standing customer of GE Aircraft Engines as well as CFM International, a 50/50 joint venture of GE and Snecma Moteurs of France, has selected three models from the GE90-CNGECO engine family to power their new Boeings. The airline’s recent purchase of the 777 aircraft fleet is part of the airline’s aggressive modernisation programme and will bring increased flexibility to its international routes.

“We are extremely pleased that PIA has selected GE engines for their new fleet of 777 aircraft. PIA is an extremely important customer, and GE is fully committed to making the airline’s expansion plans a great success. We have shared a long history together and we’re delighted to be part of the airline’s vision in the new century,” said Mohammed Al Lamadani, General Manager for the Middle East and Eastern Europe, GE Aircraft Engines.

“PIA has had an outstanding experience with GE and CFM in the harsh, hot environment in which its aircrafts operate. The new CNG engine will be equally reliable for this flag-carrier airline,” Lamadani added.

The Karachi-based airline has selected higher thrust engine to power its 777 fleet based on GE engines’ proven track record of reliability and performance. One of the oldest airlines in the Middle East, PIA boasts a 20-year relationship with GE Aircraft Engines with over half of the carrier’s current fleet powered by GE or CFM International Engines. CF6 engines operate on 16 of PIA’s aircraft, while CFM56 engines power an additional seven. PR

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