ISLAMABAD/KARACHI: The PIA plane was seized after passengers had already boarded the aircraft. According to sources, the plane was taken into custody for non-payment of aircraft lease dues. The PIA had leased two aircraft, including the Boeing-777, from a Vietnamese company in 2015.
The matter related to an arbitration case over payments was heard in a UK court. The aircraft's 18-member staff also became stranded in Kuala Lumpur due to the seizure, and will now quarantine for 14 days as per protocols, the sources disclosed.
On the other hand, 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 the 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 PIA assured on its official Twitter account. The national airline also said that it has engaged support from the government of Pakistan to take up this matter using diplomatic channels.
"It is an unacceptable situation and PIA has engaged the support from Government of Pakistan to take up this matter using diplomatic channels," the tweet added. Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri, spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, however, said that our High Commission in Malaysia is in close contact with the relevant Malaysian authorities and the PIA to address the issue at the earliest.
Meanwhile, the passengers are being properly looked after and alternate arrangements for their travel to Pakistan have also been finalised. They will be departing Kuala Lumpur by EK 343 later Friday night.
The financial crisis of the national flag carrier has turned ugly especially after the flights were grounded last year due to the pandemic. The airline had also dragged the whole nation into bereavement in last May when its domestic flight crashed in Karachi, claiming 97 lives in Karachi.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2021