Pakistan International Airlines added Airbus A320 to its fleet in September. The aircraft is the third A320 to join PIA this year as part of an agreement with AerCap; the fourth and final A320 is expected to arrive at the start of October.
Airbus A320 Background
This year, Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) added its third Airbus A320. After a short flight from Sharjah, the Airbus A320-200 (registration: AP-BMV) landed in Islamabad on September 23.
The A320 was put into service by Middle East Airlines (MEA) in 2012; it will be retired in March 2020. PIA’s A320s are outfitted with 174 seats configured entirely in economy class.
In the coming days, the fourth and final A320 (registration: AP-BMY) will arrive. In June, AerCap received its first A320, followed in July by a second.
Upon the arrival of the A320, PIA CEO Arshad Malik stated that the new aircraft would replace planes with expired leases and enhance the travel experience for passengers.
Expensive rental charges
In addition to the four A320s leased from AerCap, the remaining A320s in PIA’s fleet are leased. AerCap will deliver its fourth and final A320 to the Pakistani airline, increasing its fleet to 14 aircraft.
Simple Flying reported in June that PIA was paying $600,000 per month for two A320s that were stuck in Jakarta. These two A320s, which were leased from Asia Aviation Capital in 2015, were not part of the above AerCap transaction.
Upon undergoing a third-party inspection in late 2021, PIA and the lessor disagreed over the condition of the two aircraft, which lacked proper C-checks. Reportedly, the aircraft is still on the ground, and legal proceedings have commenced.
PIA recently reported first-half 2022 losses of Rs41,8 billion ($514 million), which is more than double the airline’s total 2021 losses of $244 million.
The arrival of new widebody aircraft
Earlier in September, PIA announced that it would add five additional widebody aircraft to its fleet. In addition, the airline hopes to conclude a dry leasing agreement for five aircraft with passenger capacities ranging from 250 to 320.
The Pakistani airline is still in the process of re-certification in Europe, which, if successful, would provide a substantial revenue boost. Future audits by the International Aviation Safety Assessment (IASA) and the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) will determine whether PIA is permitted to return to European skies.