KARACHI: Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) announced on Wednesday the induction of six new Air-Conditioning Units (ACU) for cooling aircrafts while on ground. Three of the newly inducted vehicles will be deployed in Islamabad, two in Lahore and one in Karachi according to a statement issued by the airlines spokesman Danyal Gilani.
Training sessions to familiarize staff with the new equipment are being conducted at the Karachi airport, the statement added.
The addition of the new ACUs will save millions of rupees for the airline in terms of fuel savings as the aircraft will not have to run the onboard Auxiliary Power Unit (APU). Besides cash savings this will also eliminate the high levels of noxious emissions and fuel gas while also saving hundreds of liters per hour. According to research the now-phased-out Boeing 747 would burn over 500 liters of fuel per hour.
Additionally it has been learnt through reliable sources that existing ACUs in Islamabad were in dire straits and the airline was forced to spend millions annually to hire units from other service providers on condition of availability.
Speaking to Geo.tv Danyal Gilani confirmed that the airline is going to be procuring more Air-Conditioning Units in the near future.
What are Air Conditioning Units?
Whether in the air or on ground aircrafts need air-conditioning. During flight the onboard air-conditioning units are powered by an auxiliary power unit or APU. When on ground the means of supply depends on the duration the aircraft will spend on ground. If the aircraft has no flights to operate until the next day, no air-conditioning is required.
If the aircraft has made a short term stop and will take off again after passengers disembark and fresh passengers board the aircraft - in this case the onboard APUs will continue to power the air-conditioning units. For example when a Karachi-London flight lands in Lahore to pick up more passengers for the final destination.
If the aircraft has completed its journey and will operate as a new flight, there are multiple processes that need to be completed. Passengers need to disembark, the aircraft needs to be cleaned and therefore the to maintain a pleasant atmosphere in cabin air-conditioning is a must. This is where the Air-Conditioning Units (ACU) come into play.
Without air-conditioning the temperature inside an aircraft can rise to 50-degrees Celsius in under 15-minutes, even before that, in under five minutes the air inside a commercial aircraft cabin with a full load of passengers will become unbreathable due to high CO2 concentration and possible shortage of oxygen.