Pakistan’s Economic Coordination Committee, which controls and finalises the country’s important economic decisions and is chaired by Prime Minister Imran Khan, has approved a PKR44 billion rupee (USD260 million) bailout package for PIA - Pakistan International Airlines (PK, Islamabad Quaid-e-Azam Int'l) in the form of cash and sovereign guarantees, the government announced in a statement.

Among other decisions taken on September 15 related to defence and economic issues, the cabinet-controlled committee approved the fourth bailout package prepared under the current government of the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party, and without a viable business plan according to media outlets such as The Express Tribune.

Half of the additional aid for the perennially loss-making flag carrier is in the guise of a USD130 million financial arrangement to meet its immediate liabilities, while the other half consists of enhancing PIA’s guarantee limit by PKR22 billion (USD130 million) to help it drum up financing from commercial banks.

“The ECC considered and approved a summary tabled by the Aviation Division for GOP cash support as required by PIAC,” said the Ministry of Finance statement. “The airline has experienced a significant dip in revenues and cash flows due to the pandemic and unprecedented travel bans/lockdowns imposed by various countries. Moreover, the ECC also approved the enhancement of an existing approved guarantee enabling PIAC to overcome its financial challenges.”

The committee meeting came one day after the arrival at Islamabad Quaid-e-Azam Int'l of the first of two A320-200s that PIA is taking delivery of this month, OE-IOR (msn 7784). The second will be OE-IOT (msn 7792).

OE-IOR was ferried from Perpignan to Islamabad via Cairo Int'l on September 13-14, arriving at its destination at 0602L (0102Z), ch-aviation analysis of Flightradar24 ADS-B data shows. According to footage PIA posted on social media, it was still in its livery of Interjet (AIJ, Toluca), the troubled Mexican low-cost carrier to which it was delivered new in July 2017 as XA-UNO. The aircraft is dry-leased from Dublin-based lessor Seraph Aviation Management under its Gannet Aircraft 2 Ltd SPV, the ch-aviation fleets ownership module shows.

As previously reported, PIA plans to dry-lease four A320-200s by the end of 2021 with the first two replacing two B777 widebodies in its fleet. Not including the newly arrived jet, PIA’s current narrowbody fleet comprises eleven A320-200s, out of a total fleet size of 31 aircraft.