18 - 24, 2011

The national airline has initiated fuel saving measures by setting up dispatch departments at Lahore, Islamabad, and Peshawar.

The fuel saving measures were taken on the suggestions of the Pakistan Airlines Pilots' Association (PALPA), it is learnt.

The PIA management under MD Captain Nadeem Yousufzai asked for suggestions from PALPA and other employees' associations to curtail fuel consumption and resolve management issues hurdling the national carrier overcome its losses of more than Rs92 billion stood at the end of December 31, 2010.

According to informed sources, on PALPA's suggestion, dispatch centers have been decentralized. The centers will be responsible to provide the flying crew with the navigational documents and route maps before the international flights takeoff. The Islamabad dispatch centre has successfully started its functioning from Aril 15, 2011.

The dispatch centre was previously centralized and located only in Karachi due to which passengers had to travel extra to visit Karachi before any international flight for collecting navigational documents if not available in their city. In addition to this, PIA had to bear the loss of millions of rupees for consuming extra fuel and other expenses.

The flights now will not need to travel unnecessarily to Karachi just for collecting their navigational documents as the documents will be available at almost every station and PIA will save millions of rupees worth fuel as well.

When PALPA President, Captain Sohail Baloch was contacted to comment on the decision, he commended the PIA management on taking all stakeholders on board to resolve the issues confronting the national carrier.

He said that if measures suggested by pilots are enforced, PIA could save at least Rs1 billion annually and would help overcome flawed procedures or mismanagement causing the airline a lose of Rs60 million on daily basis. He suggested that if Air Traffic Control (ATC) is asked, it can provide PIA with shorter routes reserved for the air force if no exercises are scheduled, helping the airline to save fuel.

PIA must derive a method of fuel saving, getting advantages of tail wind and shortcuts provided by the ATC to arrive ahead of scheduled time, he emphasized. President PALPA cited the example of PIA Boeing 747 flight 742 from Jeddah to Islamabad on March 9, 2011, which saved 18 minutes in taxing out and taxing in. He said that such time saving would save the fuel as the captain can opt for cruise option, as time will not be the constraint.

The Boeing 747 consumes fuel worth Rs686,000 per hour. A saving of 18 minutes through minimum fuel use could save PIA around Rs200,000 per flight from Jeddah to Islamabad, he added. He said that efficiency in making little adjustments like using only one engine in taxing and avoiding taking unnecessary weight of extra drinking water and spare parts could also save millions in fuel consumption, he added.