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Friday Dec 02, 2016

PIA budges stance on sale of jet for Israeli propaganda flick

KARACHI: Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) was seen budging from its stance once again as it said its jet Airbus A310, which is being used in an Israeli propaganda film, was sold out with the consent of its German CEO to a museum in Germany.

After Geo News aired the story, the PIA administration had earlier claimed to have rented its A310 out for the shooting of the Israeli propaganda movie. Today, the national flag-carrier said jet was sold out to the German museum for a mere 50,000 Euros, without the issuance of a tender.

After the story flashed, Federal Minister Muhammad Zubair said the plane was sold for 290,000 Euros, out of which 250,000 Euros will be paid to the PIA immediately and remaining 40,000 Euros will be paid later. Not only this, but the auction of the jet was not considered necessary for it was ‘old enough’.

The minister said who would purchase such old plane and what were they to do if it was to be featured in an Israeli propaganda movie or used for some other purpose.

The questions here are if the jet was so old, then how could it be flown to Malta airport; how was issued fit-to-fly certificate; was the government not aware of the purpose of its use? Could the same airliner be used for a flick against the Kashmir cause or Pakistan, and nobody would have objected to it?

Alas! No one felt sorrow for selling of a fit-to-fly PIA aircraft for as low as 50,000 Euros, and that too for an objectionable movie.

Apparently, the PIA CEO was given a go-ahead by the government for selling the jet and allegedly the authorities twisted the facts about its flying condition.

Let suppose the Airbus A310 was sold for 290,000 Euros, even then the analysts estimate the airliner was worth several million dollars in the market on the basis that it was capable of flying.

It is pertinent to mention here that the hollow structure of the aircraft - excluding the engine, seats, valuable equipment and tools, and other parts – is sold for around 6-7 million rupees.

It should also be noted here that the PIA had decided to ground four of its Airbus A310 jets by December, this year, and a tender was also issued for their sale. The tender was supposed to open on December 12, but the administration sold out the aeroplane to its favourite buyer before opening of the tender.

A spokesperson for the PIA declined to comment as to with whose clearance the airliner was taken out of country.

Sources have confided to Geo News that the concerned authorities were kept in dark in this regard.

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