PIA Interim CEO Detained In Pakistan Over Srilankan Lease Deal

PIA Interim CEO Detained In Pakistan Over Srilankan Lease Deal
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The interim CEO of Pakistan International Airlines  (PIA) Bernd Hildenbrandhas been placed on an Exit Control List (ECL), according to sources quoted in Pakistan’s The News.

Deputy Director of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), Khawaja Hammadur Rehman, issued the notification on March 15.

The FIA is investigating Hildenbrand and other PIA executives over alleged kickbacks, embezzlement and mismanagement in the lease of aircraft, namely A330-300 – 4R-ALN (cn 1604) from SriLankan Airlines (UL, Colombo Int’l).

The Airbus-330 was acquired on lease for premier service of PIA. The PIA has paid over $19 million to Sri Lankan authorities in terms of wet lease for this aircraft during span of six months. The Daily Mirror reports that SriLankan Airlines CEO Captain Suren Ratwatte has said the deal was the most profitable one the airline had made in recent history. PIA Spokesperson Danyal Gilani articulated that the aircraft was acquired at market rate.  The aircraft was deployed on the Premier London Heathrow-Islamabad service, which allegedly lost PKR1.5 billion (USD14.3 million) over the course of its operation.

A Senate panel recently released an enquiry into PIA’s finances and management, finding that corruption was a problem in all areas of business. “Corruption is rampant in purchase of spares parts, allocating of space for freight, purchase of tickets, in enrolments and postings and in catering and engineering departments,” the report says. It recommends the immediate dissolution of the Board of Directors, and the appointment of a permanent CEO.

Source: Agencies (ch-aviation)

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