PIA cancels flights over non-payment of dues to fuel supplier

Islamabad, Pakistan, October 18: Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) faced fresh turbulence as its domestic flight operations were disrupted on account of non-payment of dues, leading to a complete halt in the supply of aviation turbine fuel to the carrier, the Dawn reported.

The Pakistan-based daily reported further, citing official sources, that Pakistan State Oil (PSO) halted the supply of aviation fuel to the national carrier on Tuesday.

In a direct fallout of the same, the airline cancelled 14 domestic flights while four others were delayed by several hours, the report added.

The cancelled flights included two from Islamabad to Gilgit, one from Islamabad to Quetta, one from Karachi to Sukkur, one from Islamabad to Multan and another from Karachi to Faisalabad, Dawn reported.

Likewise, PIA flight PK304 from Karachi to Lahore was also delayed by about three hours due to the suspension of fuel supply to Karachi airport. The flight was scheduled to depart at 2 pm (local time) but took off eventually after a 3-hour delay.

PIA flight PK305 from Lahore to Karachi also arrived late in Lahore.

Another PIA flight — PK308 — from Karachi to Islamabad was also delayed due to the suspension of aviation fuel while another flight, PK309, from Islamabad to Karachi was delayed as well.

Due to the cancellation and delays of PIA flights, hundreds of passengers have been facing serious inconveniences over the past several days, said the report, adding that not only fliers but also the crew are bearing the brunt of the current crisis.

The PIA had requested an emergency bailout of Pakistani Rupees (PKR) 22.9 billion, which was rejected by the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC).

The ECC also turned down a request by the PIA for deferment of the payment of Rs 1.3 billion per month, which the national carrier pays to FBR against FED and Rs 0.7 billion per month which it pays against the rising charges, Geo News reported.

The PIA also warned that Boeing and Airbus might suspend the supply of spare parts for its fleet by mid-September.

In July, the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) froze the national carrier’s account on the basis of non-payment of more than Rs 2 billion in taxes, according to ARY News.

In January last year, the FBR froze 53 bank accounts of the PIA after it was found to have defaulted to taxes worth PKR 26 billion.

However, those bank accounts were restored after PIA assured them of early clearance of the taxes.

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