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PIA to boost fleet amid leadership changes

Pakistan International Airlines intends to dry lease two Airbus A320s in the first quarter of 2019.

The carrier states that the aircraft "are already under the evaluation phase", and that the decision was taken after "an executive meeting" was called by PIA's new chairman and chief executive officer Saqib Aziz to discuss the airline's performance.

"It was discussed... that due [to] increasing demand in market, [the] enhancement of [our] fleet has become unavoidable as the present fleet is not sufficient to cater to the demand", adds PIA.

The aircraft will be used on domestic and regional routes to the Persian Gulf and Southeast Asia, and the carrier tells FlightGlobal that they are seeking the lease period for up to eight years.

Flight Fleets Analyzer shows that PIA operates a fleet of 32 aircraft, including 11 A320s - all of which are on lease.

The carrier says that Aziz's appointment took place on 6 September after the Pakistan Supreme Court ruled the appointment of predecessor, Rasool Cyan, illegal. The court ruled that Cyan did not go through proper application processes, that he had no airline experience, and that his educational qualifications were not sufficient.

PIA says that Aziz's appointment is a temporary one, and that it will begin its search for long-time replacement "at the end of the year".

Additionally, the carrier confirmed that it has received an audit report from the Supreme Court, detailing "irregularities in the airline's operations between 2008 and 2017" which caused it to incur accumulated losses of PRs 370 billion ($3.01 billion). This follows a May court order to the country's auditor general to conduct an audit of PIA's operations in the last 10 years.

"The respective departments have around one to two months to respond to the irregularities," says PIA.

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