Team to leave for Jakarta to repatriate two PIA planes

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KARACHI: A four-member delegation headed by Aviation Secretary Saif Anjum will leave for Indonesia in an effort to repatriate two Airbus 320 aircraft of the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) aircraft stored at Jakarta Soekarno-Hatta in Indonesia for the last two years.

The delegation includes PIA CEO Air Vice Marshal (retd) Muhammad Amir Hayat, Chief Engineer Amir Ali, and the East Management deputy engineer.

According to sources, the PIA administration had returned the two Airbus 320 aircraft leased in 2012 in September 2021. The national flag carrier has suffered a massive loss in payments made for the parking of the planes.

PIA is spending around $600,000 monthly for the two Airbus A320s parked at Jakarta airport. For the past two years, an engineer has been deployed in Indonesia for every one to three months at the PIA’s expense.

PIA had offered to pay the company other expenses including the check-up of the two aircraft. The national flag carrier is also willing to buy the planes for $30 million.

However, the leasing company, AirAsia, had refused to sell the planes bearing registration numbers: AP-BLY (msn 2926) and AP-BLZ (msn 2944).

PIA then asked the leasing company to check the A320s in Pakistan, but because of Covid restrictions and security concerns, the inspection was carried out in Indonesia. When the leases expired in 2021, the planes underwent a third-party inspection, which was done by Lithuanian FL Technic at its Jakarta facility.

After the inspection, certain issues with the parts on the planes were identified, and it became clear that the required C-Checks had not been carried out.

According to the sources, the negligence and lack of attention of the PIA’s management and officers to the matter were largely responsible for the stranding of the two planes in Jakarta for two years.

The PIA spokesperson confirmed the forthcoming visit of the aviation secretary-led delegation to resolve the dispute with AirAsia. He further said the return of the planes was delayed because of technical and legal reasons with the leasing company.

He added that the national flag carrier was working hard to bring back both the planes. The spokesperson further said the fares of the two Airbus 320s had been waived off.

The PIA spokesperson said negotiations were under way with the leasing company to buy the two planes. “They will be purchased and added back to the fleet. Soon both the planes will come to Pakistan,” he added.

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