Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) has not paid the sum that was due to Sri Lankan Airlines for the training provided to cockpit and cabin crew of the Airbus A330-300 aircraft it wet-leased from the debt-ridden SriLankan Airlines last year, officials connected to the deal said.
The training was carried out in Colombo and the amount due for the national carrier was in the region of USD 100,000.
Official sources said that a top PIA official tasked with the payment has failed to deliver on time.
Sri Lankan Airlines is exploring the possibility of taking legal action to recover their dues from the PIA. The PIA has ignored the letter of demand sent by former CEO of the Sri Lankan Airlines Capt. Suren Ratwatte.
Officials added that the present management of the Sri Lankan Airlines will most likely write off the PIA’s outstanding payment
Furthermore, it is learnt that the Airbus A330-300 aircraft, tainted with allegations of corruption and kickbacks, is still under investigation both here in Sri Lanka and Pakistan .
In fact, PIA has leased an aircraft from a Vietnamese airline and has fallen back on those payments too and the PIA staff has still not received their salaries for the month of November, sources said.
Initially, a verbal discussion had taken place for PIA to lease 3 A330 aircrafts from Sri Lankan and the aircrafts were prepared for the lease. However, as there was no contract, only one aircraft was leased last year.
PIA has paid USD 2 million to SriLankan Airlines as delayed payments and lease installments inclusive of extra flying hours of A330 aircraft wet leased to Pakistan’s national carrier in August last year.
This settlement of arrears was made, more than four months after the returning the Airbus A-330 aircraft back to SriLankan.
"The wet lease deal by Sri Lanka’s national carrier at an astronomically high rate is shocking", Pakistan media reports quoted a PIA official as saying.
SriLankan Airlines was levying PIA a rate of USD 8100 per hour under the lease agreement which is a very high amount, he said. The normal charge is about USD 6000 per hour.
"Someone in the middle got a ‘massive cut’ from this unfavourable deal for PIA", the Pakistani official added.