PIA couldn’t pay lease on seized aircraft due to coronavirus pandemic: Aviation minister


PML-N bought planes on expensive lease

Next London court hearing on Jan 22, Malaysian court proceedings on Jan 24

PIA failed to pay lease due to COVID-19 pandemic

ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Aviation Ghulam Sarwar Khan blamed the previous government for acquiring two Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) aircrafts on an expensive lease.

Talking to media on Saturday, the federal minister said the PML-N government acquired the planes in 2015 on an expensive lease that the national carrier failed to pay on time due to the coronavirus pandemic. He added that a case was being heard in a United Kingdom court but a Malaysian court issued an order without giving the airline a chance to present arguments.

Ghulam Sarwar Khan said the next hearing in London court is on January 22 while the Malaysian court hearing is fixed for January 24. Reports suggest that the owner and director of the company that leased the plane to PIA are Indian nationals with offices located in Dubai, UAE.

It may be mentioned here that the PIA plane was taken on lease from a Vietnamese company in 2015.

A PIA spokesperson said the national carrier’s counsel is already presented in Kuala Lampur and has been provided all relevant documents.

Meanwhile, the passengers of the seized aircraft in Malaysia will arrive in Pakistan via Dubai today. First, 118 passengers will arrive at Islamabad International Airport at 11:00pm in-flight EK-614 while another 54 passengers will be brought back in flight QR-632 via Doha at 1:40am.

The spokesperson said the stranded passengers are being looked after by PIA staff in Dubai and Doha, adding that they were provided with breakfast as well.

It may be added here that the Malaysian authorities had seized the PIA’s Boeing 777 on Friday for defaulting lease payment. The aircraft was taken into custody on a court directive from KL International Airport with passengers on board. 

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