KARACHI, October 26 (Internews):
The American Exim Bank has expressed
willingness to extend a credit facility up to $500 million to the
Pakistan International Airlines for the purchase of four brand-new
Boeing 777, market sources said here Friday.
The Bank has further agreed to consider PIA request favourably, as and
when received by the Bank in a formal way. The extension of credit
facility would depend on PIA's feasibility report that the airline will
submit to the Bank within this month.
The Bank would have a close look at the creditworthiness of the national
carrier and go through the normal procedure before giving its final okay
to the deal. The credit may be finalised in about a month's time from
Preliminary discussions in this connection were held with Exim Bank
officials in Washington last week by Khurshid Anwar, Chief Operating
Officer of PIA, airline officials said.
They said the exploratory discussions he had with Exim Bank officials
were friendly and encouraging and that the Bank officials were receptive
to PIA's case.
Other things remaining equal and the credit facility finalised, the four
aircraft would be delivered in phases. The first two would likely join
the PIA fleet in January 2002 followed by the other two after a few
PIA Chairman Hamid Nawaz Khan said two months ago that he wants five or
six new aircraft in the PIA fleet. He had not given any time frame for
the fleet replacement for the simple reason that the airline had just
started picking up after a 'nosedive' and required breathing time to be
able to undertake new ventures.
The aircraft, which are ready for delivery, had been ordered by
different airlines, i.e. United Airlines, American Airlines, Delta
Airlines etc but due to the damage caused to the aviation industry by
the Sept 11 events, several of the airlines did not consider it feasible
to take delivery of the aircraft.
The Boeing 777 gives an opportunity to make money, cut costs, and
outdistance the competition. This airplane, designed and built with
customer input, has outstanding comfort, flexibility, and profitability
- qualities that suit it to the market challenges.
The Boeing 777 has a new wing and more efficient engines and burns 11
per cent less fuel per seat than the A 340-300, a four-engine airplane.
The Boeing 777-200, which PIA wants to purchase, has a seating capacity
of 305 passengers. The available engine options supporting the 777
family are Pratt and Whitney, General Electric and Rolls Royce. These
engines are already in use in the existing PIA fleet. -Internews