PIA likely to return Airbus 330 wet leased for its Premier Service to London

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Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) is likely to return Airbus 330 aircraft wet leased from SriLankan Airlines (SLA) for its premier service to London, reported a national daily. PIA is reported to have already paid $19 million for it.

Aviation sources are reported to have said that the decision is likely to be taken in view of seat and load factors not being as planned.

Sources had earlier revealed that the national flag carrier had been paying $8000 per hour for six months under a formal agreement at a rate that was 25 percent higher than the market rate.

The decision to acquire aircraft from SLA and its subsequent return signal a poor management decision on behalf of PIA leading to striking operating losses of over Rs. 3 billion during six months of Premier Service operations. The controversy has raised a lot of eyebrows questioning the ethical nature of the decision taken.

PIA Spokesperson Daniyal Gilani has reponded by saying that the aircraft had been obtained on market rate without any legal violations. He further maintained that the aircraft was new and the amount of the lease included salary charges on foreign crew members and other associated expenses.

PIA now plans to operate its premier services through the Boeing 777 aircraft that it already possesses in its current fleet.