ISLAMABAD, Aug 14 (APP): Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif on Sunday inaugurated PIA Premier – the luxury air service of Pakistan International Airline, giving a major facelift to the national flag carrier.
The Prime Minister saw off the Premier passengers of inaugural PK-785 to London here at the Benazir Bhutto International Airport – the event that coincided with Pakistan’s 70th Independence Day.
Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, Information Minister Pervaiz
Rashid, Sri Lanka’s Minister for Public Enterprise Hashim M. Kabir, PIA CEO Bern Hildenbrand, PIA Chairman Azam Saigol, Chairman and CEO Sri Lankan Airlines Ajith Dias and Surendra Ratwatte, and former Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Aviation Capt Shujaat Azeem were present.
The Prime Minister took round of the aircraft, met passengers and appreciated the quality of services.
The cabin crew onboard – women attired in new designer
burgundy-maroon coloured uniforms with green scarves and men in navy blue suits with green ties – exuded a fresh, trendy and welcoming look. A few dressed in `head-to-toe green with white sash’ reminded of PIA’s old magnificent glory.
Earlier, the PIA CEO, in a briefing to the Prime Minister,
said the project with new aircraft would be a “future gateway” for the PIA’s financial success.
“With a hospitable crew, good food and excellent service, this is something we can compete with the world,” he added.
He mentioned the cooperation of Sri Lankan Airlines and
collective team work of PIA management that helped launch of quality air service in short time, under the directive of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.
Later, Sri Lankan Minister Hashim M. Kabir told APP that
the launch of PIA Premier was a “symbolic moment of friendship” for Pakistan and Sri Lanka to intensify their close relationship in terms of trade, economy and culture.
He termed the project a mutually beneficial agreement between the two countries, and also recalled the visit of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to Colombo this January, which he said helped boost the economic relationship.
Chairman Sri Lankan Air Lines Ajith Dias in an interaction
with APP said the PIA had acquired on wet-lease three A-330 aircraft from Sri Lankan Airlines, with fourth one joining the fleet in near future.
He said the Sri Lankan Airlines was delighted to be part of
this project and would be providing a three-month training to the PIA Premier pilots and cabin crew.
He said Sri Lankan Airlines would also closely work with PIA
in future in projects including code shared flights and sharing of engineering services.
The aircraft in brand new condition were aimed at giving
passengers a better experience, allowing PIA to start regaining its market share, he added.
PM’s Special Assistant Shujaat Azeem during his tenure had
initiated the efforts to translate the vision of Nawaz Sharif for launching a premium service in PIA and had a contribution in the selection of new aircraft and new uniforms for cabin crew.
There will be six weekly Premier service flights to London,
three each from Islamabad and Lahore. Later, with addition of more aircraft, the service would be expanded to other destinations.
The aircraft is equipped with LCD screens and flight
entertainment with 250 channels and flat bed service for business passengers.
Complimentary limousine service for PIA Premier Business Class customers will be given upon their arrival at Heathrow Airport.
The service will be available within a radius of 25 km from Heathrow Airport.