ABRIC Leasing, the aircraft leasing company managed by ACIA Aero Leasing, has repudiated media reports that it has agreed to the return of four ATR 72-500s from Pakistan International Airlines (PIA).
Mick Mooney, the CEO of the South Africa-based company, clarified that it had only reached a conditional settlement with PIA for the early return of one of the ATRs.
“The impact of COVID-19 has been detrimental to most airlines, and PIA is no exception. We have a strong partnership with PIA that we hope will continue for many years into the future. In order to support them at this time, we have agreed to accept one of the aircraft back early, subject to the conditions of the agreement being met,” he said.
He also clarified media reports that all four aircraft will return to the lessor saying, “The remaining three aircraft will stay with PIA for the remainder of the respective lease terms”.
These aircraft were acquired on a dry lease back in 2015, with the lease running until April 2021.
Earlier this week, local media reports had quoted the CEO of PIA, Arshad Malik’s statement that the national airline has negotiated a deal with the leasing company to return the aircraft without any cash penalties. The reports had added that one of the aircraft had already landed in Johannesburg.
The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) has launched an investigation into the 2015 costly leasing deal. As per reports, three ATR planes had been leased at Rs. 179,500 ($1,120) per aircraft a month. The remaining two ATRs cost slightly less. The unusually expensive lease agreement has cost the national exchequer around Rs. 7.9 billion.
Concurrently, Shaheen Air had finalized a 6-year lease agreement for Airbus 320s at Rs. 195,000 per aircraft.