Sun, 28 Feb 2021

Islamabad [Pakistan], January 27 (ANI): Malaysia on Wednesday released a Pakistan International Airlines' (PIA) plane which was seized after the Pakistani carrier failed to clear the dues of the leasing firm.

A PIA spokesperson told Geo News on Wednesday that the airline reached an agreement with the leasing firm for an out-of-court settlement after which the the Kuala Lumpur High Court ordered release of the plane, Geo News reported.

"The airline will bring the plane back to the country as a commercial flight for which PIA staff is being sent to Malaysia," he said.

In much embarrassment to Pakistan, Malaysian authorities had seized the Boeing 777 aircraft on January 15.

The high court ordered the immediate release of the plane after both sides said they had reached an amicable settlement to the dispute, involving two planes leased to the PIA, according to a lawyer representing the airline.

"Peregrine has agreed to withdraw its suit against PIAC (Pakistan International Airlines Corp) and for the injunction orders to be set aside," said PIA counsel Kwan Will Sen.

"With this, the two Boeing aircraft operated by PIAC would be released with immediate effect," he added.

On Friday last week, the PIA informed the London High Court that it has paid around USD 7 million to Peregrine Aviation Charlie Ltd in the case related to two jets leased to it by the Dublin-based AerCap.

Lawyers for both the PIA and the airliner sought an adjournment as they hoped that the full amount would be paid through an agreement without the court issuing an order against PIA, reported Geo News.

The Dublin-based AerCap's lawyer told the court: "The claimant's position is that the sums were paid today by the defendant (PIA)."The court was informed that the PIA didn't make payments since it asked for the amendment of its claim in July and that it owed USD 580,000 per month to the airliner, but it didn't pay and litigation was initiated.

The leasing company had filed a case against the PIA in London High Court in October 2020 over its failure to pay the leasing fee worth about $14 million which had been pending for six months.

In response, Pakistan national carrier had maintained that since the COVID-19 pandemic had seriously affected the aviation industry, there should be a reduction in the overhead charges.

Meanwhile, the leasing company kept an eye on the activities of PIA, and as soon as it received the information of flight 895's scheduled landing in Malaysia, it appealed to a local court to seize the aircraft as per the international civil aviation leasing laws, sources added.

The Boeing 777 aircraft was seized after London High Court issued the order, an airline spokesman had said. (ANI)

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