Why was PIA plane held back in Malaysia?

Malaysian authorities stopped PIA plane to leave Kuala Lumpur airport over $14m lease dispute

A Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) plane has been held back by Malaysian authorities on January 15 to a legal dispute in a British court over the jet’s lease, the airline officials said.

The case involved a $14 million lease dispute, PIA officials 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,” PIA said in a statement posted on Twitter.

The airline authorities and Pakistan Foreign Office spokesperson Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri confirmed that the Pakistani high commission in Malaysia was in close contact with the Malaysian authorities “to address the issue at the earliest.” The statement added that “the passengers are being properly looked after and alternate arrangements for their travel to Pakistan have been finalized,” by Emirates flight EK-343.

What was the issue?

PIA spokesperson Abdullah Hafeez Khan said in a video statement that “We were told that the plane has been impounded on a court order” and that PIA’s legal team “will pursue it in the Malaysian court, and hope that we will resolve this issue as soon as possible.”

The spokesperson added that the Malaysian court took an “ex-parte decision” causing inconvenience to the passengers who had already boarded the aircraft.

The legal dispute is between PIA and Peregrine Aviation Charlie Limited and pertains to two jets leased to PIA by Dublin-based AerCap, the world’s largest aircraft lessor, in 2015, according to Reuters. The case was filed in the UK courts about six months ago.

They are part of a portfolio that AerCap sold in 2018 to Peregrine Aviation Co Ltd, an investment unit of NCB Capital, the brokerage arm of National Commercial Bank SJSC.

According to the interim injunction, PIA is restrained from moving two aircraft in its fleet – a Boeing 777- 200ER (serial number 32716) and a Boeing 777- 200ER (serial number 32717) from Kuala Lumpur International Airport until a further hearing.

Malaysia’s Ministry of Transport said that the aircraft was being held pending legal proceedings set for January 24.

Zakhia Irfan
Zakhia is a dedicated journalist who loves to read and travel. She covers all aspects of aviation and travel news for Islamabad Scene.

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