Minister for Aviation Ghulam Sarwar Khan has said that PIA could not pay the lease in time due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Addressing a press conference in Rawalpindi, he said PIA officials will appear before a London court on January 22 and a Malaysian court on January 24 and argue their case.

Malaysian authorities seized the plane on Friday at the Kuala Lumpur airport on a complaint for non-payment of lease.

The minister blamed the PML-N government for acquiring the planes in 2015 on an expensive lease.

A PIA spokesperson has said the counsel for the company has already submitted relevant documents in a court in Kuala Lampur.

It is learnt that a case against PIA was lodged by the leasing company in a London court in October last for its failure to pay $14 million lease, pending for six months.

PIA requested the court that since the coronavirus pandemic had seriously affected the aviation industry, amount should be reduced.

As the plane landed in Malaysia, the company moved a court in Kuala Lumpur which ordered seizing of the aircraft according to international civil aviation leasing laws.


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