KARACHI: The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has given Shaheen Air International special permission, on humanitarian grounds, to bring back over 300 passengers stranded in China for the last few days.

Responding to queries on Monday, CAA spokesperson Pervez George said passengers had been stranded in China for the past few days as the CAA, owing to non-payment of its dues/arrears of more than Rs1.5 billion, had recently suspended the airline’s international operations — except for Saudi Arabia.

He explained that the airline’s international operations were still suspended and would continue to remain suspended until the dues were cleared.

The spokesperson did not respond to a question about how long the CAA had not recovered dues from Shaheen Air and what action, if any, had been taken against CAA officials whose criminal negligence/connivance allowed the dues against the airline to accumulate.

Due to non-payment of dues, the CAA said that they would suspend the airline’s international flights except to Saudi Arabia.

Shaheen Air took this order and moved the Sindh High Court which directed the CAA to not suspend their operations, if the airline paid its dues as agreed earlier.

After the CAA suspended the airline’s operations and Shaheen Air moved the court which on the airline’s application issued contempt of court notices against the CAA’s director general G. Hussain Baig, additional director general retired Air Marshal Usaidur Rehman and Lahore airport manager Tahir Sikander for not following the court’s order and directed them to appear in court on July 31.

Published in Dawn, July 24th, 2018