Suggestions for PIA I emailed them

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behramjee
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Suggestions for PIA I emailed them

Post by behramjee »

Suggestions for PIA

Route Network Changes + Scheduling:

PIA's route network needs some thorough re-examination, as some of its routes especially to Houston, Paris, Milan, Rome and JFK are not making money for the airline due to complex route structures and hopeless schedule planning. Some routes need to be suspended and some need major scheduling and structural changes. To begin with, PIA should have learnt by now that flying to any long haul city from Pakistan especially North America will never break even if the frequency is only twice a week -2 stop flights in the peak season and in the off season once a week -2 stop flights as is the case with IAH-Houston. This isn't the 1970's and 1980's when fuel prices and competition was much less than what it is today. At the end of the day, PIA is a business and not a charity organization catering to the needs of local and expat Pakistanis abroad.

Therefore to begin with all flights to Houston should be suspended indefinitely as the route has made a massive loss since its launch in June 2004. So great is the loss that during the off season, the city sees only a once a week frequency and even that flight struggles to attract a 70% load factor both ways. The best way to serve North America for PIA is by entering into a broad based alliance with American Airlines (AA) as its major hubs are for PIA's sake conveniently located at JFK and ORD-Chicago O Hare airports. From either one of these 2 airports, all the major Pakistani populated cities in USA are served nonstop by AA such as Baltimore-BWI, Washington DC-IAD, Boston-BOS, Philadelphia-PHL, MIA-Miami, San Francisco-SFO, Seattle-SEA, Dallas-DFW, Phoenix-PHX, Houston-IAH, Las Vegas-LAS, Atlanta-ATL, Cincinnati-CVG, Oakland-OAK, San Jose-SJC and Detroit-DTW. LAX is also a hub for AA so if PIA's future plans for North America call for LAX, ORD and JFK to be online destinations then that's perfect as via LAX on AA (through a SPA-Sales Promotion Agreement), the U.S. West Coast + Arizona is covered + via ORD on AA, the Midwest and Southern States are covered and lastly via JFK on AA, the entire U.S. East Coast from Pennsylvania all the way down to Florida is adequately covered. But for this to effectively happen and to appeal to the high yielding business class passenger especially, PIA must have a frequency of at least 3 weekly flights to both ORD and LAX in addition to JFK being served 5 times per week minimum.

The route structure should be the following:

a) JFK - 5 weekly flights seeing 2 weekly LHE-KHI-JFK with a B 772LR + 2 weekly ISB-KHI-JFK with a B 772LR + 1 weekly LHE-ISB-JFK with a B 772LR.

b) ORD -3 weekly nonstop flights from Pakistan with a B 772LR routed LHE-KHI-ORD.

c) LAX -3 weekly B 772ER flights routed via PVG in order to attract the high yielding 5th freedom traffic on this key trans-pacific route which only sees one airline namely China Eastern flying it nonstop 4 times a week with an Airbus A 340-600.

If PIA is successful with a partnership with American Airlines in USA, then it should convince / persuade the airline to code share on its Pakistan-USA-Pakistan bound flights which would help PIA achieve a high degree of respect, acclaim and recognition amongst the world's major airlines which can in the future lead to a possible membership in the One World alliance which has British Airways-BA and AA in it to cover PIA's 2 most important long haul markets i.e. USA and UK.

As for Toronto, PIA's 3 weekly flights can easily support itself thus the need for PIA to fly nonstop from Pakistan to Toronto-YYZ and not via Manchester-MAN. The B 772LR's can easily support such an operation.

However, the scheduling of PIA's North American operations leaves a lot to be desired. For one, it seems that PIA still hasn't understood that gone are the days when an airline could solely rely on O&D traffic (Origin and Destination). Nowadays, even though O&D is an important factor when determining the viability of a particular route, an equally important factor for an airline that cannot and should not rest its laurels on O&D traffic is the prospect of attracting 6th freedom traffic to third country destinations via its main hub which is KHI for PIA. Unfortunately, PIA's EU, UK and USA and YYZ bound flights do not connect conveniently i.e. within 4-6 hours both ways to PIA's flights bound for Dubai, India, Dhaka, Colombo, Katmandu. No SAARC passport holder requires a transit visa for Pakistan which is to PIA's advantage. PIA is able to attract 6th freedom traffic from India via KHI bound for the Gulf cities but not North America, UK and EU due to its complex flight schedules. If PIA want to see better loads and yields on North American flights especially then it must look into rescheduling some of its flights to accommodate "the hub and spoke" business model that has worked wonders for airlines such as Emirates, Singapore Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Qatar Airways and British Airways. In fact over 70% of Emirates and Singapore Airline's European and North American bound flights are filled with 6th freedom transfer passengers.

Therefore, I propose that PIA's JFK, YYZ and ORD flights should be rescheduled alongside the Indian sub-continent flights in the following way:

a) Dep LHE 0845 Arr KHI 1030 Dep JFK 2245 Arr KHI 2345+1
Dep KHI 1130 Arr JFK 1630 Dep KHI 0100+2 Arr LHE 0245+2

b) Dep LHE 0815 Arr KHI 1000 Dep ORD 2130 Arr KHI 2330+1
Dep KHI 1100 Arr ORD 1730 Dep KHI 0045+2 Arr LHE 0230+2

c) Dep LHE 0815 Arr KHI 1000 Dep YYZ 2300 Arr KHI 2230+1
Dep KHI 1100 Arr YYZ 1700 Dep KHI 2345+1 Arr LHE 0130+2

These flights should be timed like that so that they can connect both ways to and from North America to BOM, DEL, DAC, CMB and KTM in the following way:

a) JFK, ORD and YYZ return flights arrive into KHI between 2230 and 2345 so BOM and DEL flights should be timed such as

Dep KHI 0430 Arr BOM 0630 / DEL 0645
Dep BOM 0800 / DEL 0815 Arr KHI 0900 from BOM / 0915 from DEL

Note: YYZ, JFK and ORD flights would depart KHI as mentioned above between 1100 and 1130am. In this way, passengers en route from North America via KHI to India only have a 4 hour transit at KHI and on the return a one and a half hour transit which is excellent. Everyone knows that the demand for seats to BOM and DEL from JFK, ORD and YYZ outstrips supply so this is a market that PIA should look to penetrate.

b) JFK, ORD and YYZ return flights arrive into KHI between 2230 and 2345 so KTM and DAC flights should be timed such as

Dep KHI 0315 Arr KTM / DAC 0645 Dep KTM / DAC 0815
Arr KHI 0955

Dep KHI 0230 Arr CMB 0630 Dep CMB 0730 Arr KHI 0940

Note: YYZ, JFK and ORD flights would depart KHI as mentioned above between 1100 and 1130am. In this way, passengers en route from North America via KHI to DAC, CMB & KTM only have a 3 hour transit at KHI and on the return leg a one and a half hour transit which is excellent.

As for PIA's European network, it must do away with illogical and complex route structures such as KHI-ISB-CDG-FCO-KHI or KHI-LHE-AMS-FRA-KHI on the Airbus A 310-300s. Such route structures will never breakeven and will continue to make heavy losses unless a reasonable solution can be found. This would lie in PIA first identifying its most important mainland EU routes which should be FRA, CDG, OSL and CPH only. There is no need to serve ATH, MXP, AMS and FCO. Unfortunately, the mainland EU market does hold the same high potential that the UK and North American market holds for the airline so 2 weekly A 310 operated flights nonstop preferably from Islamabad or Karachi is the best option.

The route structures should be as follows :

a) ISB-OSL-CPH-ISB 2 weekly A 310s b) KHI-FRA-KHI 2 weekly A 310s
c) ISB-CDG-ISB 2 weekly A 310s

From CDG and FRA, PIA should have interline SPA agreement with Air France and Lufthansa respectively to send passengers to key Pakistani populated cities in Europe such as BRU, AMS, BCN, MXP, ATH, MAD and FCO. This particular arrangement would be more cost beneficial for PIA rather than sending its own aircraft on multi stop flights.

As for the UK bound flights, PIA has the authority to fly up to 10 weekly flights into London Heathrow-LHR per week but only flies 9 which is beyond comprehension. There are currently 9 weekly LHR bound flights flown by PIA from Pakistan with the frequency distribution being LHE-LHR 3 weekly B 743s non stops + 3 weekly ISB-LHR B 743s non stop + 2 weekly B 74M KHI-LHR non stop + 1 weekly ISB-KHI-LHR B 74M. The 10th weekly flight should also be preferably on a B 747-300 (B 743) and be routed LHE-KHI-LHR thus giving all 3 main markets of Pakistan a convenient 4 weekly operation each respectively to London Heathrow. LHR bound flights from ISB and LHE see enough O&D passenger demand levels but Karachi doesn't and therefore the KHI-LHR non stops should be rescheduled to accommodate 6th freedom traffic from the Indian Subcontinent in the following schedule manner :

a) Dep KHI 1030 Arr LHR 1345 Dep LHR 1500 Arr KHI 0200

Note : This above mentioned timing would allow the LHR bound flight from KHI and vice versa to connect easily within 1-2 hours for flights both ways for flights bound for BOM, DEL, DAC and KTM using my new flight schedule timings.

As for PIA's Far East network, one cannot understand why PIA does not want to challenge Thai Airway's monopoly on the LHE-Bangkok (BKK) and now ISB-BKK nonstop sectors especially since on its BKK-LHE-BKK bound flights, Thai Airways has always made a hefty profit on + had a year round load factor of over 80%. PIA only flies to BKK from ISB via HKG which makes what should be a 5 hour nonstop flight into an eight and a half hour one. My advice for PIA is to fly 4 times a week ISB-LHE-BKK with A 310s and change the HKG-Hong Kong routing to 2 weekly ISB-LHE-HKG flights flown by an A 310. From BKK, PIA can have SPA agreements with Qantas, Japan Airlines, ANA, Thai etc for regional and Australia bound flights.


Fleet Changes:

PIA's fleet will soon become even younger with the induction of ATR 42-500 Turboprop aircraft plus more Boeing 777s. However, PIA shouldn't rest its laurels on this fact as it must think for the long term and what aircraft is most suitable to replace its ageing fleet of Boeing 737-300s, Airbus A 310-300s and Boeing 747-300s. According to my research, the most suitable aircraft to replace these 3 variants are the Boeing 737-700, Boeing 787-800 and the Boeing 777-300ER.

The Boeing 737-700 with winglets (to conserve fuel) is the ideal replacement aircraft for the Boeing 737-300 as it has a similar passenger and cargo carrying capability but it can fly further. The additional range that it offers would enable PIA to fly on medium haul low-density routes nonstop, which are beyond the reach of the Boeing 737-300. These new potential routes are to Damascus, Beirut, Amman and Istanbul nonstop from PIA's Karachi hub. In addition, the operating characteristics of the Boeing 737-700 with winglets are very advanced and superior to its nearest competitor i.e. the Airbus A 319 as it burns 4% less fuel and flies further due to the winglets. PIA's current Boeing 737 fleet numbers 6 aircraft but I feel that it would be worth it if a replacement order for not 6 but 7 Boeing 737-700's with winglets is placed so that frequencies can be increased on key Gulf routes from Pakistan.

PIA's fleet of Airbus A 310-300s number a dozen and were manufactured between 1990 and 1992. By 2010, the lifespan of these aircraft would be 20 years thus rendering it to be of inferior technology and a gas-guzzler compared to its future replacement aircraft such as the Boeing 787-800. There are many reasons why I have selected the Boeing 787-800 (B 788) ahead of if the Airbus A 350-800 (A 358). For one, the Airbus A 310s of PIA seat 180-200 passengers maximum in a 2 class configuration which means that a replacement aircraft for the A 310-300 should seat around 210-230 max in a similar but more luxurious 2 class layout. This is where the B 788 beats the A 358 as it seats between 210-230 passengers in a comfortable 2-class layout with sleeper seats in business class having a 60-inch seat pitch plus a 34-inch seat pitch for Economy class seats. In addition to this, the airplane can carry approximately 14 tons of cargo in its belly with a full payload and fly longer distances such as nonstop to North America from Pakistan. On the other hand, the A 358 would seat a minimum of 260-270 passengers in a luxurious 2-class layout and can carry only 12 tons of cargo in its belly with a full payload. Not only would this aircraft carry 2 tons of less cargo but also its seating capacity is way too large for it to even be remotely considered as an ideal replacement aircraft for PIA's fleet of A 310-300s. Last but not least, Boeing can have the B 788s delivered to PIA by 2011 which is the time frame allocated towards the retirement of the A 310s. Also by placing an order for about a dozen or more B 788s, PIA and the Government of Pakistan would be even more in the American Government's good books which is important from a political standpoint.

The six ex-Cathay Pacific Boeing 747-300s that PIA has in its fleet presently were manufactured by Boeing in 1987-88 and this particular variant of the B 747 program was a big failure as only 80 examples of it were produced as all the airlines found it to the most un-economical and expensive B 747 to operate on medium and long haul high density routes. In today's world with soaring fuel prices, the B 747-300 is indeed a big time gas-guzzler of an aircraft. Its seating capacity of 433 passengers in a 2 class configuration with 45 seats in Business Class (having a 48 inch seat pitch with a 130 degree recline) and 398 in Economy Class (having a 32 inch seat pitch) is a bit too much for it to be effectively used on routes to JFK, MAN, LHR, JED, RUH from KHI, LHE or ISB. In fact during the off season (January 20-May 31 + September 15-December 4) which number a total of 7 months in a calendar year, PIA's B 743 operated flights to JFK, LHR and MAN from Pakistan and vice versa struggle to meet a load factor of 75% which goes to show that this aircraft is a bit too large to meet PIA's needs on these key long haul routes. Plus the B 743's cannot fly nonstop from Pakistan to USA thus further increasing the operating costs if the flight by making it a 2 stop flight from the main KHI hub. Even the business class product on the B 743s of PIA is sub-standard in today's aviation industry where all the major airlines have a minimum 60 inch seat pitch with a 160-180 degree recline just like PIA's B 777 business class product.

PIA has already ordered 3 Boeing 777-300ER's (B 773ER) from Boeing in October 2002 and this order should be increased to six so that it can fully replace the ageing B 743 fleet between 2008-2011. By deploying the B 773ER on the current B 743 routes, the operating costs of the flight will drop due to the B 773ER being a more fuel-efficient aircraft with lesser capacity thus fewer empty seats on board and lastly enabling JFK bound flights to be either nonstop or one stop from Pakistan.

When the Boeing 777-200LR (B 772LR) flew Hong Kong-Heathrow (HKG-LHR) over the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, a newspaper quoted a PIA B 777 pilot on board that special flight saying that Mr. Tariq Kirmani had telephoned the aircraft during the journey that PIA plans on purchasing 4 more B 772LRs thus increasing the order to 6 form 2 originally. I feel that this is a waste as PIA doesn't need more than 4 B 772LRs because one can be exclusively devoted to 4 weekly nonstop flights to JFK from Pakistan + one can be devoted to 3 weekly LAX nonstop flights or even via PVG-Shanghai + one can be devoted to 3 weekly nonstop flights to Toronto from Pakistan + one can be devoted to 2 weekly each nonstop flights to Chicago and Houston respectively from Pakistan. Based upon this schedule planning, a maximum of 4 B 772LRs is ideal for PIA and not 6. If PIA has spare cash available to order 2 more B 772LRs, it should change its mind and order 2 B 773ER's instead in order to accelerate the retirement of its ageing and gas guzzling Boeing 747-300 fleet.


Upgrade of in-flight international product :

PIA's in-flight product on its international flights flown by the A 310s especially is very sub-standard in both business and economy classes. For one, there are no personal TV's in any seat which is not acceptable especially since the A 310s is used as the "core" aircraft on PIA's European and Far East Asian services. Also the seat pitch in business class on the A 310s is well below industry standards. PIA's current business class seat pitch on the A 310s is a meager 42 inches where as other airlines such as Kuwait Airways, Air India, Turkish Airlines and Royal Jordanian offer a bigger seat pitch of 48 inches with a 120-130 degree recline. PIA should also follow suit or else it risks losing high yield business class traffic to airlines offering a better premium product out of Pakistan such as EK, QR, KU, SV, GF and EY. Yes, 2 of PIA's A 310s do have the same in-flight seat and product features as witnessed on PIA's B 777 fleet but that is not needed to be put on the remaining 10 A 310s as it will greatly increase the weight of the aircraft causing it to fly a lesser range nonstop with a full payload of passengers and cargo. In short what the A 310s basically need are TVs in every seat + a bigger business seat with a better recline.

However the business class cabin of the B 743s definitely does need to be upgraded to the same standard of the B 777 fleet especially since the airline uses it on its highest yielding routes to UK and Saudi Arabia. There is a reason why the politicians and diplomats in Islamabad prefer to fly British Airways and Emirates rather than PIA to UK as the B 743 business class product is inferior to their expectations and to that offered by BA and EK. Another reason for the upgrade to take place is due to PIA wanting to hold on to these aircraft till 2011. If however, plans change and 2008 is the revised retirement date, then there is no need for this investment to be put into the B 743 fleet.
behramjee
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Post by behramjee »

Their reply as of now :

Dear Sir,

Thank you for your email.

Your message has been forwarded to Chairman & CEO, PIA.

Thank you for writing to us.

Arshad Saleem,
Webcoordinator,
Pakistan International Airlines.
behramjee
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Post by behramjee »

I was getting bored on my KU 102 LHR-JFK flight so took out my note pad and in 5 hours jotted all this information down, typed it out this weekend and emailed it to them on Sunday night from Toronto.

Lets hope someone in a high PIA position takes the time and effort to reply back in detail to me after I effort I put in for this for them.
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Post by Moin »

Not to rain on your parade but thats the generic answer they give to whomsoever sends them suggestions. God knows how many I've sent.
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Post by CoyBoy »

behramjee, as Moin said in another post North American flights will not go non-stop due to security issues.
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smarties
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Post by smarties »

What do u mean they are not gonna go non-stop to the US? Why the hell would PIA buy such aircrafts if they were unable to fly such routes?? !! ??
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Post by PakN'US »

If American Airlines can fly non stop from Chicago to Delhi, why can't PIA fly from Chicago to Lahore or Karachi non stop?
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Post by B777240ER »

a) JFK - 5 weekly flights seeing 2 weekly LHE-KHI-JFK with a B 772LR + 2 weekly ISB-KHI-JFK with a B 772LR + 1 weekly LHE-ISB-JFK with a B 772LR.
I see you want the JFK flights to connect with South Asian flights via Karachi but having no non-stop flights between LHE-JFK could mean that pax just fly on other carriers. I believe 2 weekly KHI-JFK and LHE-JFK and one weekly ISB-JFK.

Although with the B787 you have suggested these frequencies would increase
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Post by hasan saleem »

Had a nice time reading it behramjee, job well done, thumps up !!
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Post by Moin »

I was referring to nonstop Pak-USA flights. There was no mention of the eastbound USA-Pak flights. That they probably will be allowed to do.
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Post by behramjee »

I emailed this to my mum in KHI yesterday and had her TCS it to Tariq Kirmani and Kamran Hassan at PIA...so lets see if they respond back or not.
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Post by ammad »

Any update or reply from Officals?
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Post by pk757 »

HI,

Mr.Behramjee, i really (im sure unanimously we all) agree with u on the multi-stop and less frequency factors, But Lettin go of the 743 would be like loosing a workhorse, since the
decomissioning of A 300 b4 , PIA HAS SERIOUS problems esp on the PAK-KSA, PAK-GULF routing , if they loose the jumbo itll be catastrophic, and since when do u think 743 is underload on manchester routs?/cmon buddy everyone knows that there IS A GREAT DEMAND for PAK-MAN routing ,
and oh by the u r COMPARING PK 310S TO AIR INDIA AND KU A310s
lol..............comon yaar i m sure uve seen wut AI 310s are like form inside ( WASTE BINS) and ku 310s arent any better either they just have measly PTVs that dont even work!

OH AND BY THe WAY....... 4 A310S HAVE BEEN REFITTED WITH RECARO SEATS , SINCE THE INITIAL PLAN WAS TO INSTALL THEM ONLY IN THE
310-308s that leaves out only ap-beu ap-beg , the 310-308s are the ones that will from now on be deployed on euro and far eastern routes, the 310-324s will do regional hops.
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Post by behramjee »

But Lettin go of the 743 would be like loosing a workhorse
well PIA cant afford to pro long the lifeline of these gas guzzling B 743s. They can easily be replaced with similar capacity aircraft just like a normal range B 777-300 which can seat 440 pax in 2 classes and can fly upto 9 hours nonstop...EKs 2 class B 773s seat 434 pax.

The B 743 has been replaced on high density short/medium haul routes by B 773s by major airlines such as TG-CX-JL-ANA-SQ.
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Post by Simulator Fan »

Have you looked at PIA's fleet plan which was published some time back, well let me refresh you memory,

Presently,

1. F-27 being replaced by 6 ATR 42-500 and 3 ATR 72 (currently under study)

2. Boeing 737-300 has a major fuselage modification coming up in 2009, which is costing so high that's its worth buying new planes, for that 737-700 with winglets is already under study its competitor is A-320 is also being studied side by side with 737.

3. Being 747-300's as per plan will retire in 2010, but can be extended up to 2012 not later after which resale value according to books is not economical, 747's a total 6+2 will be replaced by Boeing 777 (ER's and LR's) mixed fleet will come making a total of 20 B-777.

4. A-310 being on lease will go back and will be replaced by 737-900 or 7E7 which is also under study.

Now, one thing worth mentioning here is that last MD's priority was to provide for tomorrow, which was good to a point that PIA was flying and no flights were down.

New MD being well educated knowing how business is run and how far ahead one has to think to make it worth investing is working on such grounds. MD is here today tomorrow he will be some place else.

Now it all comes to the Managers of PIA people who will actually benefit from all this vision, that they remain loyal to the MD and stop drilling holes in the plate they are eating from. They should work hard and make PIA a profitable organization. This is my personal view.