KARACHI: Pakistan Interna­tional Airlines’ Chief Executive Officer Bernd Hildenbrand, who was scheduled to leave for Germany to spend Christmas and New Year’s holidays with his family, has been “asked” to stay in the country till completion of further inquiries and other important work, it was learnt on Thursday.

Talking to Dawn, PIA spokesperson Danyal Gilani said that “the leave of PIA CEO has been delayed by two to three days due to a board meeting and urgent operational matters”.

According to sources, investigators have been looking into the PIA plane (Airbus A 300) being rented/leased to a filmmaker for the remake of a film based on Operation Entebbe, which among other places will be shot in Malta.

Another issue being looked into is the sale of the aeroplane for around 50,000 euros. The controversial film is based on an operation conducted by the Israeli defence forces to free an Air France aircraft with around 250 passengers on board after it had been taken over by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine in 1976.

The plane took off from Tel Aviv for Paris but was taken over while flying over the Mediterranean sea and diverted to Benghazi, Libya, where after re-fuelling it went southwards and landed at Entebbe, a major airport in Uganda, then under the rule of Idi Amin. The Israeli commandos conducted a raid at Entebbe.

Investigators started the probe after news regarding the lease/renting of the Pakistani aircraft for the production of the controversial film surfaced. PIA’s crew had left the aircraft at Malta, sources claimed.

The other issue being investigated is the sale of an aircraft to a German/European organisation for 50,000 euros.

Published in Dawn, December 23rd, 2016

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