PIA to bring back its plane from Malaysia soon: minister

Published January 25, 2021
In this file photo, Aviation Minister Ghulam Sarwar Khan addresses a press conference in Islamabad. — APP/File
In this file photo, Aviation Minister Ghulam Sarwar Khan addresses a press conference in Islamabad. — APP/File

TAXILA: Federal Minis­ter for Aviation Ghulam Sarwar Khan has said that the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) and the Peregrine Aviation Charlie Limited leasing firm have agreed on an out-of-court settlement for the PIA plane seized at the Kuala Lumpur Airport on a Malaysian court’s orders.

Talking to journalists in Wah on Sunday, the minister said that the next hearing of the case would be held in a London Court on Jan 22 and hopefully the issue would be resolved.

Malaysian authorities seized a PIA Boeing-777 at the Kuala Lumpur Airport on the orders of the Malaysian court after PIA failed to pay the leasing fee of about $14 million.

The minister hinted that after paying the default money, it was expected that the Boeing-777 would be flown back to Pakistan. He blamed the PML-N government for acquiring two planes in 2015 on an expensive lease that the national carrier failed to pay on time due to Covid-19 pandemic.

He said the Malaysian court issued an order without listening to arguments of PIA.

Talking about financial problems being faced by the national flag carrier, the minister said the PIA was facing issues today due to poor policies of successive governments as they made unnecessary political appointments even on fake degrees which ruined the organisation.

He said the PTI government would take action against elements responsible for illegal appointments in PIA. The minister said that the employees appointed without following merit and those with fake degrees had been removed from service.

He said PIA was the airline which had the highest number of employees on its payroll per aircraft in the region, while the Turkish airline had the lowest employees per aircraft.

Published in Dawn, January 25th, 2021

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