Pakistan to purchase Russian aircrafts

Atif Abbas

Islamabad: Russia intends to supply aircrafts to join a fleet of the Pakistan’s national carrier.

The national carrier of Pakistan is likely to purchase Sukhoi Superjet 100 (SSJ-100) planes, according to Russian Industry and Trade Minister Denis Manturov, who is currently in Islamabad on an official visit.

Sukhoi SuperJet 100 is Russia’s newest twin-engine regional passenger aircraft. It began operating commercially in 2011. The range of the base version is 4,400km with the capacity to seat 98 passengers. The aircraft is in service with airlines in Laos, Mexico, Ireland, and Russia. The jet’s largest operator in Russia is Aeroflot.

Pakistan’s national carrier Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) is currently in debt trap and Russian aircraft could help the country to revive its sinking airline.

Pakistan is currently working on different proposals to revive the national carrier by generating funds. The previous government had tried its best to revive sinking airline but could not succeed.

However, present government claims that Revenues of Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) had increased 30% in first six months of 2019. From January to June of the current calendar year, the national flag carrier achieved a breakthrough,” the Aviation Division remarked.

According to media reports, Pakistani officials had told last week that Islamabad could get supply of Russian aircrafts on both wet and dry lease with an option to purchase.

“We interact directly with Pakistan Air. We have agreed that in January we will continue working on it, taking into account the fact that we must work out the destination network together with our colleagues. It concerns the possibility of supplying from 6 to 16 aircraft,” Manturov told reporters. Talks will continue next year, he said.  Moscow and Islamabad signed their largest-ever cooperation deal this week, worth billions of dollars, to expand trade and business ties. The deal includes huge investments in energy, rail and steel industries.

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