AMRAIZ KHAN LAHORE - PIA management, contrary to its extension plan submitted to the government wherein 42 more aircrafts were to be procured, is going to shrink its operations by signing an agreement with Turkish Airlines (THY), said sources in the airline on Saturday. They said that agreement has been finalised which awaits final approval from PIA Board of Directors, having already been vetted by the Chairman PIA, who is also Minister for Defence and friend of President Zardari. As per agreement, PIA will surrender all its existing routes to Europe and America except London, Oslo, Copenhagen and Paris. PIA will restart the Houston Texas route which it had suspended following losses over 4 years ago. PIA will continue to operate direct flights to Toronto from its hubs in Pakistan in addition to flights to London, Paris, Oslo and Copenhagen. PIA passengers for New York and Chicago will now be carried by its own aircrafts up to Turkey, from where they will proceed to their destination after change of aircraft to THY aircraft for onward flights. The same will be the case for PIA passengers booked to Amsterdam, Frankfurt, Milan, Rome, Barcelona, Birmingham, Manchester etc. Under the agreement there will be frequency of 21 flights between Pakistan and Turkey, out of which PIA will operate 17 flights and THY 4 flights. PIA will provide 5th and 6th freedom traffic to THY and serve as a feeder airline or spoke of THY, which will carry these passengers for onward flights to Europe and USA by THY aircrafts under a Code Sharing Partnership Agreement. Under the terms of this agreement, PIA will provide a certain number of guaranteed load for THY, for which PIA will get a commission, However in the event of low seasons when this guaranteed load is not provided, PIA will pay for the loss of revenue seats. In case of overbooking during peak loads, PIA will pay for regular fare difference charged by THY. The frequency of 21 feeder flights from Pakistan will be split equally between Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad. Similarly THY will provide feeder passenger services for flights operated by PIA from Pakistan to Colombo, Kathmandu and Dacca. PIA and THY will maintain their existing schedules on Pearl Route, Gulf, Regional, Fareast, MidEast and China. An interesting part of this proposed agreement is that THY will provide catering of Pakistan cuisine from existing caterers that supply to PIA for all flights to Europe or transit through Europe. This catering firm is reportedly owned by front men of the MD, whose relatives are running it based in Manchester and Barcelona. PIA has been suffering losses because of controversial contracts signed for Maintenance Repair & Overhaul and change of Ground Handling and Sales Agency contracts during past 3 years. An aviation expert said that PIA would also make its B-777 planes cycling life ended by operating them on shorter routes rather than the long routes for which these planes were purchased. Though the flying hours of these planes would increase by operating them on shorter routes, he added. When contacted spokesman of PIA said that there was misperception among the general public and agreement was being taken as negative. He said that the airline was sharing with Turkish airline on only those routes where PIA itself was not operating and passengers load was there. We will operate ourselves for UK and USA only two to three routes will be shared with THY. He said that already PIA was operating only on 39 international destinations while after signing agreement the airline would be in position to operate on more than 100 destinations. Spokesman also said that it was only proposal and we have reached hardly up to the level of MoU it would be approved after the permission of Board of Director. He said that with fleet of 40 aircrafts we cannot cover the whole world and in response to our agreement THY would also serve us on certain routes including Dhaka, Katmandu, Beijing and Kuala Lampur.