Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) is in talks with Cathay Pacific Airways to purchase the five Boeing 747-300s it has been leasing from the Hong Kong-based carrier.

PIA has been leasing the Rolls-Royce RB211-powered aircraft since 1999, and last year agreed to extend the leases for five years. A PIA source says the existing lease agreement includes an option to buy the aircraft at pre-determined prices either during or at the end of the lease terms, although new pricing is now being discussed, given that the second-hand aircraft market is severely depressed.

State-owned PIA has been looking at fleet modernisation for years, but has deferred decisions as a result of financial and political troubles. It has recently been considering adding more Airbus A310s to replace its ageing fleet of A300B4-200s - and the source says the carrier continues to study proposals for used aircraft from vendors.

PIA is still considering the acquisition of "white-tail" Boeing 777s from the manufacturer at attractive prices, although financing is seen as a major obstacle.

Source: Flight International