Malaysia releases PIA plane seized over payment dispute

KARACHI: The Malaysian authorities have released the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) plane which was seized after the national flag carrier failed to clear the dues of the leasing firm.

A PIA spokesperson said on Wednesday that the airline has reached an agreement with the leasing firm for an out-of-court settlement after which the court ordered to release the plane. “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.

A Malaysian court earlier today ordered the immediate release of a PIA plane that was held in the Southeast Asian country nearly two weeks ago due to a British court case over the jet’s lease.

Malaysian authorities seized the Boeing 777 aircraft on January 15 after a court allowed an application by the plane’s lessor, Peregrine Aviation Charlie Limited, to keep it grounded pending the outcome of a $14 million lease dispute with PIA in a UK court.

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The Kuala Lumpur 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 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.

The two jets were leased to PIA by Dublin-based AerCap , the world’s largest aircraft lessor, in 2015. They are part of a portfolio that AerCap sold to Peregrine Aviation Co Ltd, an investment unit of NCB Capital, the brokerage arm of National Commercial Bank SJSC, in 2018.

AerCap, which continued as part of the agreement to provide lease management services to Peregrine, has declined to make any comment on the case.

Lawyers representing Peregrine did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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