PIA – Pakistan International Airlines says it plans to use wet-leases A330-300s to launch its new premium service operation on August 14 with flights to London Heathrow.
Airline CEO Bernd Hildenbrand was recently in Colombo to discuss the previously reported move to source the aircraft from SriLankan Airlines, which has been struggling with surplus wide body capacity for a long time.
“With new aircraft, more professional crew and improved service standards, the new service aims at providing a different experience to passengers,” PIA said. “This service will go a long way in helping PIA regain its market share, both domestically and internationally.”
In the wake of a series of strikes related to the planned privatization of the troubled national carrier, the Pakistani government announced the plans to launch a new premium airline, Pakistan Airways, whose focus will be on international flights.
The Pakistani government is obligated to privatize the national carrier because of a US$6.67 billion Extended Fund Facility (EFF) signed with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in 2013.
The plan was to dispose of at least 26% of the loss-making airline by Mary, but the date has now been pushed back to further on this year.
A local paper, The Nation, reports that PIA officials this week approached Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif over the possibility of an injection of PRK160 billion (US$1.5 billion) into the carrier to pay off debts owed to the Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority (PkCaa), fuel suppliers and airports in Jeddah and Riyadh.
The approach to the PM came after the government reportedly rejected the airline’s initial request for assistance,