* Evaluates order for Boeing 777X, Airbus A330, A350 jets
* Plans to cull 3,000 to 3,500 jobs by end of 2017 -exec
* PIA says no figures yet on job cuts or timeframe
(Adds PIA saying no decision taken on job cut numbers, adds
details of management meeting)
By Alexander Cornwell
DUBAI, Nov 22 Pakistan International Airlines
(PIA) is evaluating an order for wide-body Airbus and
Boeing jets as it looks to upgrade its ageing fleet, an
executive for the state-owned airline said on Tuesday.
"Boeing 777X would be a good option," the airline's
executive director of human resources and works, Raheel Ahmed,
told reporters on the sidelines of a conference in Dubai, adding
that PIA is also looking at the Airbus A330 and A350 models.
PIA would consider purchasing the aircraft directly from the
manufacturer and financing the order through a sale and
leaseback arrangement, when an airline sells a jet to a lessor
who then leases it back. It would also consider a direct leasing
agreement, known as a dry lease.
Ahmed did not say when PIA would order the jets or how many
it could buy. It has a fleet of 38 narrow-body and wide-body
Airbus and Boeing jets, with three A310s to be retired on Dec.
31, he added.
Ahmed also said PIA would cut its 18,000 workforce by
between 3,000 and 3,500 employees by the end of 2017 as the
Pakistan government looks to turn around the loss-making airline
and sell-off a 49 percent stake.
However, PIA later said Ahmed's figures were incorrect, and
no decision had as yet been taken on how many jobs would be cut
or over what timeframe.
A meeting between Pakistan's Privatisation Commission and
PIA top management was also held on Tuesday, "to determine the
best suitable restructuring model to make PIA into a viable
entity," a senior government official who attended the meeting
The official said restructuring would be done in two phases,
carving out non-essential units within three to six months "to
attain a clean balance sheet," followed by the gradual carving
out of other business units.
The airline would spin-off four "special business units"
from January 2017, starting with its catering business and later
its flight training, engineering and courier businesses.
The units are planned to operate independently of PIA with
their own general managers and marketing teams. PIA would later
look to sell a stake in the units if they are profitable.
(Additional reporting by Mehreen Zahra-Malik in Islamabad;
Editing by Mark Potter and Alexander Smith)