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July 14, 2018

CAA bans Shaheen Air’s international flights; Saudi operation exempted


July 14, 2018

KARACHI: Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) of Pakistan on Friday banned international flight operation of Shaheen International Airlines, barring its flights for Saudi Arab, because of more than one billion rupees of its default on payment to the authority.

“Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority (PCAA) decided to discontinue all the airport services nationwide for the international flights of Shaheen Air International except its Saudi Arab’s flights from July 16 on non-payment of Rs1.5 billion dues,” the authority said in a statement.

Civil Aviation Authority asked passengers with scheduled flights on the airline to arrange alternatives to avoid any inconvenience.

Early this week, the authority barred Shaheen Air from undertaking an international flight operation to Dubai. It cancelled the permission for schedule international flight NL 221/224 of Shaheen Air of Islamabad-Dubai-Islamabad sector with effect from 13 July.

The authority said the airline defaulted on payment to CAA on account of various levies.

Director Marketing Zohaib Hassan at the airline said the flight ban would only lead to distress for the passengers. “Immediate suspension” is not in accordance with the PCAA laws,” he added.

Hassan said talks were underway to discuss the new repayment schedule with the authority. He acknowledged delays in payment to the authority.

“Temporary delay in payments is limited to a few weeks, and SAI is liable to settle all the impending and lawful PCAA dues to its earliest,” he added.

Last month, Shaheen Air International Limited paid Rs910 million in outstanding tax amount after the authorities sealed the airline’s head quarters in Karachi for a brief period. The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) had locked the head office of the privately-held airline for an hour to recover the outstanding taxes.

Tax officials said the private airline failed to make tax payment for April and May. Airlines operating in Pakistan are bound to collect Rs5,000 in federal excise duty (FED) on an air ticket bought by international passengers and Rs2,500 from domestic passengers. They are required to deposit the taxes into the national kitty within a stipulated time frame.

The airline failed to deposit Rs497 million for April and another amount of Rs480 million for May, a tax official said.

The Civil Aviation Authority said 30,327 domestic and 84,290 international passengers travelled through Shaheen Airline in April. Subsequently, the airliner was estimated to collect Rs497.26 million as FED for the month.

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