KARACHI: The government on Thursday granted a 15-day leave to the Chief Executive Officer of the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA), Bernd Hildenbrand, sources told Dawn.

It, however, has advised the PIA’s CEO, a German national, not to leave the country till allowed to do so.

According to the sources, PIA’s Chief Finance Officer Nayyar Hayat will look after the affairs of the airline in the absence of Mr Hildenbrand.

The sources said that the PIA chief had asked for the leave as well as for removal of his name from the Exit Control List (ECL). The government has granted him the leave, but his name has not been removed from the ECL.

The sources said that the deputy secretary of the Aviation Division /PIA chairman, Farooq Hassan, on Thursday wrote a letter to Mr Hildenbrand on the subject “Exemption from ECL”.


Hildenbrand’s request of removing his name from ECL has been rejected


The letter says: “I am directed to refer to your application (dated March 21, 2017) for leave and for one-time exemption from ECL addressed to the chairman PIAC on the subject noted above and to state that secretary aviation / chairman PIA has been pleased to allow 15 days leave with effect from April 6, 2017. During the leave period, Nayyar Hayat, CFO, will look after the work of acting CEO.

“You will, however, not leave Pakistan till approval of your request for one-time exemption from the Exit Control List by the Ministry of Interior,” adds the letter.

The sources said various investigating agencies were currently probing different deals executed by Mr Hildenbrand. They said inquiries being conducted against the PIA chief included the sale of a PIA aircraft — which had flown from Pakistan to Germany — to a German organisation for around 50,000 euros (roughly around Rs5 million).

Another issue being looked into was the permission to allow a PIA aircraft for shooting of a movie based on an Israeli security forces operation against Palestinians. Yet another issue being looked into by the investigators was obtaining an aircraft from Sri Lanka at allegedly high cost for operating it on the PIA’s Premier Service between Pakistan to United Kingdom.

The sources said that the aircraft was allegedly obtained on wet lease at a high cost, and as the Premier Service was a commercial disaster the total amount lost on this account came to over Rs1 billion in around six months.

Earlier, Mr Hildenbrand wanted to spend his vacations on the occasions of Christmas and New Year with his family in Europe, but at the last moment was “asked” to stay back in Pakistan. But later on, however, he was allowed to leave the country for a few days.

Published in Dawn, April 7th, 2017

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