I recently published an article on the web and I have received an interesting response. Due to technical nature of the article “PIA’s Boeing 777 Blunder” I did my best to be objective. Pakistani Aviation is a web site for serious aviation enthusiasts who seek and share information about aviation in Pakistan. Pakistan Aviation is only web site I know that people enjoy to read about aviation in Pakistan without intimidation. I strongly urge any reader to please avoid subjective discussion and calling names to writers. There are several other web sites and forums on the Internet where people can abuse and call names to other people.
I thank my responder for reading my article and responding so passionately. I also admire my anonymous responder for his love for PIA. In my article about Boeing 777, I had no intentions to offend anyone. After reading my responder very carefully I concluded that my anonymous friend is very much interested in my identity. I could have used a pseudo name but I chose to be Anonymous instead. The main reason for not writing my name on the article was that I did not want to have my name to be abused. I urge writers to stay focused and provide valuable information. It serves no good to waste time by writing several pages of accusations to a writer.
Now I feel obliged to give information about my aviation background to the responder. I worked for PIA Engineering Department in late seventies. Now I work for a major airline in USA. I have more than 20 years of airframe, engine and avionics experience working for two major airlines. I have worked on Boeing 777,767,757,747,737,727 and 707. I also have experience on DC10-10, DC10-30, MD-11, MD 80 and F100. I have worked on different types of engines, which are used on the above aircrafts. I am also qualified to do the ETOPS checks on all flights out of USA. For the last three years I have been working on Boeing 777 exclusively performing line maintenance and other maintenance checks. The information I present reflects my training and my own experiences working on the aircrafts.
Having said about my experience and background, now I would like to present some facts about PIA Engineering. I would state this very proudly that PIA Engineering is one of the best aircraft maintenance departments in airline industry. There is no doubt in my mind that given a chance PIA engineers can maintain and repair any aircraft that Boeing or Airbus produces today. Similarly PIA Pilots and other operational staff are also amongst the best in airline industry. All those engineers who came from PIA and now work with me in USA are respected for their skill and professionalism.
In my article “PIA’s Boeing 777 Blunder” I suggested that Boeing 777 does not fit PIA’s operational requirements. I also suggested that a four engine aircraft such as Boeing 747-400 or Airbus A-340 are better suited to PIA’s needs. Ironically I wrote my previous article on a Boeing 777 on a long haul flight to Europe, suggesting Boeing 777 was not a suitable aircraft for PIA. Boeing 777 is technically very advance aircraft and I enjoy working on this aircraft. There is a lot of difference between the Boeing 747-200 that PIA owns now and Boeing 747-400 that I was suggesting. Like Boeing 777, Boeing 747-400 and Airbus A-340 use latest engines and avionics.
When most travelers go to their travel agent, they demand for the cheapest ticket first. We need to keep in mind that cheap tickets are only possible if airline-operating cost is low and competitive with the other airlines. If Boeing 777 leaves from Chicago for a non stop flight to Karachi, it has to fly about 16 hours. Considering the ETD is 1900 hrs central time, the aircraft ETA in Karachi will be close to 2300 hrs. Passengers would be out of customs by 2400 hrs. There is no connecting flight available from any airlines in Karachi to send passengers to other parts of Pakistan such as Lahore, Multan, Islamabad or Peshawar. According to the rules if the connection between the flights is more than let us suppose is eight hours then PIA must place those passengers in a hotel. The hotel expense will increase the cost of PIA. For sixteen hours flight aircraft must takeoff with extra amount of fuel that could be substituted for pay load if aircraft makes a quick cargo and passenger stop in Europe. The USA passengers with ETD at 1900 hrs and stops in Europe can reach Karachi by 0300 hrs. PIA can easily connect passengers onward by morning flights available. If PIA wants to arrive nonstop in Karachi by ETA 1700 hrs then it has to leave USA by 1300 hrs. In order to fly out at 1300 hrs PIA has to bring aircraft a night before and park it overnight. Thus more expense to PIA. We must keep in mind, if ETD from USA is too late for effective Karachi arrival such as ETD 2300 hrs central time, then PIA will run close to the mid night curfew over many major USA cities. We should also consider there are lots of connecting passengers that will be coming via other USA airlines for PIA flights. For an early ETD some passengers must start their journey very early in the morning to make a connection with PIA. The best time for PIA ETD is 1700 hrs. It is suitable for connecting USA passengers and if there is a delay the flight will not run into a curfew time. For long flights crew rest also becomes very critical. If a stop is made then crew rest offered after each flight segment thus more availability of flight and cabin crew for the flights. Boeing 777 is cost effective, if it fly non stop long haul flights but in our case no matter how we look at the flight schedule, PIA saves lot of money by making stops in Europe for cargo and passengers. Thus whenever stops are made, a four engine aircraft serves better.
PIA must need a fleet of Boeing 747-400 for their higher capacity sectors during certain seasons. Sometimes PIA replaces Airbus A-300 B4 with Boeing 747 due to higher loads such as Hajj season or perishable cargo shipment. I suggest PIA must replace older Boeing 747 with newer Boeing 747-400 to meet the seasonal demand.
I think it is not necessary for me to discuss all those points and reply all those concerns raised by the responder. I have my opinion just like anyone who wants to publish his or her opinion on this web site. This web site is about publishing different views regarding aviation in general or about PIA in particular. Any information I provide is to the best of my knowledge. I have no intentions to offend any individual or call names to any writer on this web site. I consider this web site a balanced and very professional web site. I request writers to use their time and effort to bring new information or their experiences so we can all learn.