PIA offered to change entire Airbus fleet
By Masood Anwar
KARACHI: The Airbus Industrie has offered the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) to change its entire fleet of Airbus, following the grounding of five Airbuses due to structural problems.
The company has also offered the PIA to replace its B-4 planes with A-300-600 models, parked in Dubai. Manufactured in 1985-1988, these planes were owned by the Emirates Airlines. But after the changing of its fleet in late 1990s, these planes were taken back by the Airbus Industrie.
Sources in the Ministry of Defence told The News that Airbus Industrie is demanding about $1.5 million per aircraft additionally for changing the fleet. High-ups in the Ministry of Defence are more active to change the fleet but the PIA Managing-Director, Ahmed Saeed Chaudhry, has expressed his ignorance about the offer. However, highly placed officials in the ministry hinted at the change in the fleet shortly.
A nine-member team of Airbus Industrie has arrived in Pakistan to repair the damaged aircraft after a Karachi-bound flight from Lahore narrowly escaped a disaster. After the accident, the PIA grounded its entire fleet of Airbus and checked them thoroughly. During the check-up, same fault was found in two aircraft (of registration numbers AP-BAY and AP-BBA). At the moment, out of nine Airbuses, five are grounded due to technical reasons.
In the new models (A-320 and A-340), the manufacturers have removed this fault by using a new alloy. In the B-4 models, the producers had used the plastic reinforced alloy that was not of better quality, engineers said.