In a major embarrassment to Pakistan, the Malaysian authorities on Friday seized a Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) Boeing-777 at the Kuala Lumpur Airport.
According to reports, the PIA aircraft was seized on the orders of a local Malaysian court over the non-payment of aircraft lease dues.
Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) had leased two aircraft, including the Boeing-777, from a Vietnamese company in 2015. However, they had failed to pay the dues to the Vietnamese company.
Following the seizure of its aircraft, PIA, in a statement posted on Twitter said, “A PIA aircraft has been held back by a local court in Malaysia taking a one-sided decision pertaining to a legal dispute between PIA and another party pending in a UK court.
“The passengers are being looked after and alternate arrangements for their travel have been finalised,” the statement said.
A PIA aircraft has been held back by a local court in Malaysia taking one sided decision pertaining to a legal dispute between PIA and another party pending in a UK court.— PIA (@Official_PIA) January 15, 2021
The passengers are being looked after and alternate arrangements for their travel have been finalized.
Reportedly, the authorities seized the plane after passengers had already boarded the aircraft. The aircraft’s 18-member staff also become stranded in Kuala Lumpur due to the seizure and will now quarantine for 14 days as per protocols.
Payment dispute between two sides led to seizure: PIA
Meanwhile, the national flag carrier said that the PIA aircraft has been held back on the orders of a local court in Malaysia which, it argued, has taken a one-sided decision pertaining to a legal dispute between PIA and another party pending in a UK court.
“It is an unacceptable situation and PIA has engaged the support from Government of Pakistan to take up this matter using diplomatic channels,” the Pakistan International Airlines expressed its anger on Twitter.
Commenting on the legal dispute, the airline’s spokesperson said that it was a “payment dispute between us and the party Perigreen” that had been filed in the UK courts about six months ago.
The spokesperson did not provide further details on the dispute, adding that the Malaysian court took an “ex-parte decision causing inconvenience to the passengers who had already boarded the plane”.
Pakistan Airlines pilots fly with dubious license
Earlier, Pakistan’s aviation industry was hit by a scandal after it was found out that Pakistani pilots were found to hold “dubious’ licences, prompting a number of countries to ban PIA from operating flights in their jurisdictions. The airline was banned from flying to the US and European Union for six months over safety compliance concerns under a ban still in place.
In fact, Pakistan’s Aviation Minister Ghulam Sarwar Khan made a shocking revelation that more than 30 percent of civilian pilots in Pakistan carried fake licences and were not qualified for flying.