The post-Haj flight operation of Shaheen Air International (SAI) to bring back pilgrims from Jeddah and Madina has come to a halt following the Civil Aviation Authority's (CAA) refusal to extend the airline's regular public transport licence, it emerged on Friday.
The licence — which is renewed on a quarterly basis — expired on August 30, 2018, reads a statement issued by CAA on the matter, adding that "there is no [licenced] aircraft available on the airline's inventory".
Through its statement, the authority has reminded all those concerned that the airline has outstanding dues of Rs1.4 billion and that the matter is currently being pursued legally.
The CAA statement further alerts the general public that "the airline is unable to fulfil its responsibilities and may be a cause for loss, therefore, all passengers and shippers are requested to remain cautious and for the safeguard of their interests should launch legal proceedings against the airline".
Moreover, the CAA has also directed Shaheen Airlines to make alternative arrangements with other airlines for transporting the pilgrims who had availed the airline's services to go to Saudi Arabia for Haj.
The authority has issued a disclaimer stating that it will not be responsible for any failure attributed to the airline's operations.
Meanwhile, the spokesperson for the SIA said that the CAA had provided assurances to the airline that it would be allowed to bring back the pilgrims.
“CAA had assured us that no action would be taken during the post-Haj operation to ensure smooth management of the journey of the pilgrims who will be coming back to their homeland after performing the blessed pilgrimage. The court had also ordered the same. CAA has again violated the court orders,” read a statement issued by Shaheen Air International.
The spokesperson said that SAI flights are ready to bring back the passengers from Jeddah and Madina. "This step will adversely affect the thousands of passengers who are stranded and waiting to return [to Pakistan]," he added.