March 19, 2017 03:09 pm
Bernd Hildenbrand, the interim CEO of the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) who is in hot water after lease of aircraft, namely A330-300 - 4R-ALN (cn 1604) from SriLankan Airlines, told Ada Derana that this confusion may have erupted due to ‘misunderstanding’.
Speaking exclusively to Ada Derana, Hildenbrand also went on to say “I think there is a misunderstanding because what I have read they said that it is a wet lease. They compare the wet lease cost with Chinese aircraft in other airlines in Pakistan.”
“Everything went according to the rules. Regular rule of law and the basic guidelines of tender were followed,” Hildenbrand said.
He also clarified the PIA had to allocate this sum of money for the purpose since SriLankan’s aircraft were new and had all the modern facilities.
“Chinise aircraft is much older and SriLankan’s aircraft is basically a new aircraft with all the modern facilities,” he said.
Hildenbrand had also to say that he would report to office on Monday as usual, as he had not received a formal notification yet from the PIA over the incident.
“What I know is what I read from newspapers. I have not been questioned personally,” he said.
Hildenbrand, has 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 from SriLankan Airlines.
The wet-leased A330 was recently returned, after a six-month contract.
SriLankan Airlines CEO Captain Suren Ratwatte has said the deal was the most profitable one the airline had made in recent history. PIA reportedly paid USD19 million for the six month deal. 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.
Sri Lanka’s national carrier SriLankan Airlines yesterday said that the wet lease of its A330 aircraft to PIA was a transparent process and that the tender strictly followed government procedures.