Only 46 of 260 Shaheen Air passengers stranded in China: Foreign Office

The passengers were stranded in Guangzhou when the airline failed to operate a flight on July 29

By
GEO NEWS

The Foreign Office (FO) said on Thursday that only 46 Pakistanis remain stuck in China after 260 passengers of Shaheen Air were reported stranded in the Chinese port city of Guangzhou.

During his weekly press briefing, FO Spokesperson Dr Mohammad Faisal stated that of those left in China, visas of only 15 have expired for which the Pakistani consulate is making arrangements. 

He added that the remaining passengers managed to reach Pakistan by taking other flights. 

Moreover, Geo News reported today that Shaheen Air International has been granted special permission to bring back the stranded Pakistanis.

A spokesperson for the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) informed Geo News that Shaheen Air is in debt of over Rs1.5 billion and is only allowed to operate Hajj flights and thus had to be given special permission.

The stranded passengers, the majority of whom hail from Chaman district of Balochistan, had appealed to the Pakistani government to help them.

The flight was cancelled on July 29 as Shaheen Air International cannot land any plane at the Guangzhou airport after heavy taxes were imposed on the airline, Geo News reported Wednesday. 

The airline has refunded the tickets to the passengers, however, the passengers complained that all the other flights cost a lot more than the price they were refunded.

Earlier, passenger Ahmedullah, said their July 29 flight was cancelled without any prior warning.

The Shaheen Air authorities told us that their operations have been stopped at the airport and that they can’t fly their planes at the Guangzhou airport, he said

“So many people including businessmen, women and students are struck here. There are also about 10 to 15 families,” he added.

He shared that authorities promised to fly them out but those flights were cancelled.

Non-payment of dues 

On June 22, the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) briefly sealed off the central office of Shaheen Air in Karachi, over non-payment of Rs910 million in Federal Excise Duty (FED).

According to the revenue authority, the office was ordered to be reopened after the private airline provided it with two cheques worth Rs910 million.

Prior to that, the central office of the airline was sealed off after talks between FBR officials and Shaheen Air administration failed.

Earlier in May, the FBR had asked Civil Aviation Authority to suspend local flight operations of Shaheen Air over failure to pay the FED, The News had reported.