May 07, 2013 IQBAL MIRZA

A cash strapped and over burdened with loans and bad repute, national flag carrier, PIA has embarked upon an ambitious task of saving “penny and pence” from wherever they could. The plan presented by Pakistan International Airlines Pilots Association (Palpa) is called “Fly Smart”, which was prepared by Palpa’s President Captain Suhail Baluch and First Officer Chakar Ali Shah.

Secretary Defence and Chairman PIA Lieutenant General Asif Yasin Malik (Retd) has constituted a committee to formally implement the suggestions and proposals of different unions and association. According to a source, committee’s first meeting was held at PIA head office in Karachi on Friday, April 19. Qasim Masood, Deputy Managing Director headed the committee which included Captain Arshad, Director Flight Operations; Sameen Naqvi, Director Engineering; Asad Abbas, General Manager, Fuel and Zulfiqar General Manager, Central Control from PIA, while Palpa was represented by Captain Suhail Baluch and General Secretary Captain Zarak Khan.

The agenda included following issues:

— Minimisation of turnaround time, which will increase aircraft availability for proper maintenance. The shortage of aircraft in PIA has compelled the management to plan more and more flights on same equipments which leaves very little time for the ground maintenance etc, the committee will look into options to minimise the turnaround time so that the engineering department could have more time on aircraft when on ground to properly rectify the snags.

— Training and procedural instructions for one engine taxi after landing for fuel conservation. Some of the flying crew will require training for one engine taxi as the system is being adopted in PIA to save fuel. At some foreign stations specially the longer taxi back to terminal after landing use to consume more fuel than normal, the new policy will reduce fuel consumption.

— Minimum use of APU, (aircraft’s back up power generating systems), the committee discussed including the minimum APU use initiative into SOP for proper understanding of the flight crew. Research was done to find if an Air Conditioning Unit at Arlanda airport would be more appropriate then running the APU while loading passengers and baggage in the summer when the hot climate heats up the cabin. An APU is a small jet engine installed in the tail at all passenger aircrafts. The main function of the engine is to deliver air when starting the main engines, but it is also used to deliver power and chilled or warm air to the cabin. The engine is very expensive to use because of the high fuel consumption and the expensive maintenance.

— Reduce contingency fuel to three percent from five percent to update the practice to international norms, under the initiative with revised fuel usage only on Toronto sector with three flights a week annual saving is being calculated at Rs 6.5 crores per annum.

— Alternate selection: The long range flights as per policy, previously had Karachi or Islamabad as alternate airports to flights coming from New York to Lahore, Karachi or Toronto to Lahore, Karachi or Islamabad. The committee has recommended Sialkot as alternate to Lahore airport as this initiative will save fuel worth Rs 44 crore.

— Instrument Landing Systems: The committee is also contemplating to persuade the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) Pakistan to install its equipment on runways which have majority of traffic coming into Pakistan. Some of the runways are Karachi 7R, Islamabad 12L, Peshawar 35. The installation of ILS system will save time and fuel for PIA and other airlines besides upgrading the airports rating internationally. An ACU is a compressor that is connected into the airframe feeding the aircraft with chilled air. There are two different types of ACUs, electrical and diesel driven. An electrical ACU would not be optimal because of electrical power charges when used at gate. The diesel driven is more optimal because it is usable everywhere, even when not parked at gate for example when doing maintenance. That is why the diesel driven ACU is in focus.

Courtesy: B R