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PIA Delegation Heads to Jakarta for Plane Retrieval

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In a determined effort to resolve a two-year-long aircraft repatriation ordeal, a four-member delegation, led by Aviation Secretary Saif Anjum, is set to depart for Jakarta, Indonesia. The delegation, which includes Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) CEO Air Vice Marshal (retd) Muhammad Amir Hayat, Chief Engineer Amir Ali, and East Management Deputy Engineer, aims to bring back two Airbus 320 aircraft stranded at Jakarta Soekarno-Hatta International Airport.

The PIA administration had originally leased these two Airbus 320 aircraft in 2012 but returned them in September 2021. This protracted episode has incurred substantial losses for the national flag carrier, as it has been paying approximately $600,000 per month for parking the planes in Jakarta. Moreover, PIA has been bearing the costs of deploying an engineer to Indonesia every one to three months over the past two years.

In an attempt to resolve the issue, PIA offered to not only cover the outstanding expenses but also expressed its interest in purchasing the planes for $30 million. However, the leasing company, AirAsia, declined to sell the aircraft, which bear the registration numbers AP-BLY (MSN 2926) and AP-BLZ (MSN 2944).

Efforts were made to inspect the planes in Pakistan, but due to Covid restrictions and security concerns, the inspection was conducted in Indonesia. It was during this inspection, conducted by the Lithuanian FL Technic in Jakarta, that certain issues with the aircraft’s components were identified. It became evident that the required C-Checks had not been carried out, further complicating the situation.

Sources have cited negligence and inattention on the part of PIA’s management and officers as contributing factors to the extended stranding of these planes in Jakarta.

The PIA spokesperson confirmed the upcoming visit of the aviation secretary-led delegation to Jakarta to resolve the dispute with AirAsia. He mentioned that the delay in returning the planes was due to technical and legal issues involving the leasing company. The spokesperson added that PIA was diligently working to repatriate both aircraft and noted that the fares for the two Airbus 320s had been waived.

Negotiations are also ongoing with the leasing company to purchase the planes, with the intention of reintroducing them to the PIA fleet. The spokesperson expressed optimism, stating, “They will be purchased and added back to the fleet. Soon both the planes will come to Pakistan.”

This ongoing effort by PIA underscores the airline’s commitment to finding a resolution to the complex situation and bringing these aircraft back into service. The delegation’s visit to Jakarta represents a critical step in this process, as both parties work toward a mutually beneficial solution.

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