Saudi Arabia’s General Authority of Civil Aviation (Gaca) has warned that PIA’s summer schedule will not be approved if its air navigation invoice of 11 million riyals is not cleared.
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In a letter to the PIA management, Gaca has stressed the need for early settlement of the dues. In case of non-payment, it says, it may take serious action against PIA, including suspension of the airline’s operation in Saudi Arabia.
PIA spokesman Hanif Rana told Dawn that the amount would be paid in instalments and “there will be no… suspension of the PIA operation in Saudi Arabia over the issue”. However, sources in PIA said Gaca had refused to entertain the national flag carrier’s request for ‘part payment’. “All requests of the PIA management have been turned down by the Saudi authority with a directive to pay the whole amount within a week,” they said.
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The airline has a few lucrative business routes and Jeddah is one of them. Earlier, Gaca had penalised PIA over frequent flight delays and cancellations during Haj season at the Jeddah airport. A fine was imposed after PIA’s failure to fulfil its commitment to streamline its operations. “Schedule lapses and mishandling of passengers at the Jeddah airport were also reported,” the sources said, adding that the Saudi aviation authority had issued notices to PIA for creating disruption by “flight cancellation, mismanagement of flight schedule, creating passenger chaos and over bookings” at Haj terminal of the Jeddah airport.