Landmark Financing Deal to Overhaul GE Engines Will Help PIA Fly More People Through the Skies
Although we know better, many of us can’t help but imagine that airplanes must take long breaks on the ground after every couple of flights. After all, don’t they need a rest from the enormous effort of flying across oceans and continents, or even just hopping from city to city?
The truth, however, is that airplanes can fly day after day after day, with no longer a break than it takes to clean their interiors, replenish food and drink, and move passengers and cargo on and off. Taxis, it turns out, often operate the same way, with the same car running constantly for days on end, only stopping when drivers change shifts or refill the tank.
For airlines, the less time their planes spend grounded, the more time they can spend in the air, carrying passengers and generating revenue. And for a national carrier such as Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) this translates into direct support to a country’s economic activities and development.
That’s why a recently-announced US$ 125 million financing agreement to fund the maintenance and overhaul of PIA’s GE 90 engines is so significant. The services provided by GE Aviation will help PIA optimize its fleet planning and keep its airplanes up in the air longer.
The landmark agreement is backed by the U.S. Export-Import Bank and the Islamic Corporation for the Insurance of Investment and Export Credit (ICIEC). This PIA deal is the first time that the U.S. Export-Import Bank has provided financing for engine overhauls. It is also the first long-term ICIEC-backed transaction in the region under the Non-Honoring of Sovereign Obligations program.
It is no surprise that GE Aviation and PIA are partners in such a historic deal, given GE’s nearly 40 years of cooperation with Pakistan’s aviation industry. Today, GE and its joint venture partners power more than 60% of PIA’s fleet, as well as 65% of Shaheen Air International’s fleet and 100% of both Air Blue and Air Indus’ fleets.
GE Aviation is also supporting PIA’s fleet modernization program through a six-year lease agreement with GE Capital Aviation Services (GECAS) that provides PIA with three modern, fuel-efficient Airbus A320 medium-range aircraft. Another example of GE Aviation’s support to PIA is the airline’s order for five Boeing B777-300ER airplanes equipped with GE90-115B engines, the most efficient wide-body engine in its class, with hydrocarbon emissions at 40% of the level permitted by current international standards and 10% longer time-on-wing, translating to 10% savings in maintenance costs.
GE is not only a partner to Pakistan’s aviation industry, but to sectors across the economy, including healthcare, power, oil and gas, and rail, and is supporting the nation’s development of human capital and vital infrastructure.