Feb 05, 2017

PIA accepts bids to hire aircraft without settling Sri Lankan Airlines deal

Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) is now accepting bids to hire Airbus aircraft in the wake of its lease agreement with Sri Lankan Airlines about to expire on next Friday 10th of February.

PIA is still to fulfill its agreement with Sri Lankan Air lines in taking over the two A330 aircraft under wet lease before February 10 and make the delayed due payment as an installment for the first A 330 aircraft which was already acquired by the PIA in August last year, official sources said.

Negotiations held in Dubai recently on arriving at a decision on a discounted rate as payment for the first A330 aircraft acquired by the PIA in August last year and the fate on the other two A330 Aircraft which should be taken over by the Pakistan airline have ended in a dead lock .

PIA will post the evaluation report of the accepted bids on its website as a mandatory requirement under the Public Procurement Rules, allowing public a chance to give its feedback.

“Aircraft leasing business works in a peculiar manner. There are companies which lease the Aircraft themselves from other lessors like Sri Lankan Airlines which also can make bids for the new air craft deal” An ex Pakistani official said adding that the important thing is the cost of that lease.

“Airline officials normally give high preference to the financially viable deal, “he pointed out.

There was a time when PIA used to lease planes directly from other airlines or aircraft manufacturers but now it has become difficult to get any sort of discount under direct deals, he said.

Airlines normally avoid hiring planes on a wet lease, which is expensive than a dry lease and is mostly used to meet pressing needs. Civil Aviation Authority of Pakistan also discourages wet lease.

Top PIA officials were tight lipped on the present situation of the deal which was bungled by Sri Lankan Air lines CEO Suren Ratwatte, they reiterated.

Making the matters worse, CEO Ratwatte has made a statement to a week end newspaper couple of weeks ago claiming that one of the two A330 aircraft was to have been taken over in December and it has been postponed to January.

Ratwatte has made a lie thinking the people of this country fools as everyone knows that , PIA has agreed to take over the second A330 Aircraft on February 10, in accordance with lease agreement.

“The third aircraft will be taken over in March or April, subject to crew availability,” he told a local news paper recently.

The reasons given by the Sri Lankan Airlines CEO for the delay in taking over the two planes by the PIA and also the delay in payments for the first aircraft were the PIA plane crash on a domestic flight on December 7and, bank holidays in the United States over Christmas.