In a troubling development, Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) has been forced to ground a significant portion of its aircraft fleet, with a total of 11 planes, including three Boeing 777s, taken out of service. The national carrier is grappling with a severe financial crisis that has severely impacted its operations.

PIA, which typically operates a fleet of around 30 aircraft, has been embroiled in a complex predicament for the past three years, struggling to procure essential spare parts due to a lack of funds. This shortage has resulted in the grounding of 11 aircraft, causing a ripple effect across its operational infrastructure.

Among the grounded aircraft, two wide-body Boeing 777 planes were immobilized in 2020, with one more following suit in 2021. An additional five A320 aircraft faced grounding, with two in 2021 and three more in 2023. The troubled fleet also includes three ATR aircraft, one grounded in 2020, another in 2022, and the final one in 2023.

A spokesperson for PIA confirmed this distressing news, citing the unavailability of funds for critical spare parts as the reason behind grounding these aircraft. The beleaguered airline is caught in acute financial tribulations, exacerbated by its reliance on foreign currency.

Expanding on the situation’s magnitude, a high-ranking airline official revealed that PIA’s overall fleet comprises 31 aircraft. Of the 11 grounded planes, which include Boeing 777s, Airbus models, and ATRs, some are deemed irreparable due to the unavailability of critical components, including engines.

The official emphasized that PIA is currently sustaining its operations with the remaining 20 aircraft, operating flights within the constraints of available resources. However, the potential increase in flight frequencies, particularly on international routes, could exacerbate the airline’s predicament, raising the risk of aircraft shortages.

PIA’s operational network, as depicted on its website, spans across Asia, Europe, and North America, encompassing 19 countries. The consequential grounding of aircraft has inconvenienced passengers, leading to flight rescheduling and, in some cases, cancellations. Several travelers have also faced the ordeal of being stranded at airport facilities.

This enduring financial crisis has cast a long shadow over PIA, painting a bleak financial outlook. The airline has suffered chronic losses over the years, prompting multiple government interventions to salvage its viability.

Recent government initiatives have included a bailout infusion of Rs. 30 billion for PIA. However, the sufficiency of this lifeline in revitalizing the beleaguered airline’s fortunes remains uncertain.

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