Pakistan International Airlines has inducted another Airbus A320 into its fleet. The plane is the third A320 to join PIA this year as part of a deal with AerCap, with the fourth and final A320 expected next week.
PIA bolsters fleet with another A320
Pakistani flag carrier Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) has welcomed the third Airbus A320 to its fleet this year. The Airbus A320-200 (registration: AP-BMV) arrived in Islamabad on September 23rd following a short flight from Sharjah.
The 10-year-old A320 entered service under Middle East Airlines (MEA) in 2012 before being withdrawn from use in March 2020. PIA’s A320s are configured in an all-economy layout with 174 seats.
This is the third jet to arrive from a deal with leasing giant AerCap for four A320s, with the final aircraft (registration: AP-BMY) due in the coming days. The first A320 from AerCap arrived in April, followed by a second in July.
Commenting on the arrival of the A320, PIA CEO Arshad Malik said the new aircraft would replace outgoing planes with expired leases and offer an improved travel experience for passengers.
Expensive leasing fees?
Along with its four A320s from AerCap, the rest of PIA’s A320 fleet is on lease. The Pakistani carrier now has 13 Airbus A320s, soon to be 14 when its fourth and final jet arrives from AerCap.
In June, Simple Flying reported on PIA paying $600,000 a month for two A320s stuck in Jakarta. These two A320s, not part of the above AerCap deal, were leased back in 2015 from Asia Aviation Capital.
Can PIA live up to its plan of achieving profitability by 2024? Photo: Anna Zvereva via Flickr
Upon undergoing a third-party inspection in late 2021, a disagreement broke out between PIA and the lessor regarding the condition of the two aircraft, which apparently hadn’t undergone proper C-checks. The planes are reportedly still on the ground and legal proceedings have been opened.
PIA recently reported losses of Rs41.8 billion ($514 million) for the first half of 2022, amounting to more than double the airline’s overall 2021 losses of $244 million.
New widebodies incoming
Earlier this month, PIA revealed its plans to add another five widebody aircraft to its fleet. The airline hopes to conclude a dry leasing agreement for five planes with a capacity of between 250 and 320 passengers.
The Pakistani carrier is still undergoing the recertification process in Europe, which would offer a big boost to revenues should it prove successful. Upcoming audits by the International Aviation Safety Assessment (IASA) and the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) will determine whether PIA can return to European skies.
Have you flown with Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) this year? How did you find the level of service? Let us know in the comments.