Sindh High court in another landmark decision allowed Shaheen air to start flights to international routes from Multan and Faisalabad airports. After this decision Shaheen air has announced that its international flight NL678 from Multan to Muscat and NL679 from Muscat to Multan will operate on 7 May. The permission to resume international flights is till 8 May when the court will hear the case again.
It is important to remember that Shaheen Air International’s inaugural flight NL678 from Multan to Muscat tht was scheduled to depart on 23rd April 2017 was stopped by CAA due to non-disclosed reason. The airline suffered huge problems because of that and around 300 passengers were stranded on both sides as flight NL789 was not operated as well.
According to documents available with us Shaheen Air applied for the permission to operate these flights was submitted on 5th April 2017 and flight permissions in ATFMS was entered on 20th March 2017, however no objections/approvals were given to Shaheen Air during this month’s period. The approval was put on hold without assigning any reason on the letter.
Then on 23rdApril 2017, the flight was scheduled, aircraft were arranged, foreign landing approvals were given, passengers arrived, but the CAA didn’t respond at all without assigning any reason resulting in a chaotic situation at the Multan and Muscat airports.
Shaheen air claims “no proper answers were given on the reasons/objections on the route and we were asked to contact DG CAA only in this regard. It should be noted that as per CAR's clause 352 para 2 & 3; SAI schedule was submitted according to the requirements. As per this rule a month without any objection is deemed to be approved”.
The airline alleges that “in this case stopping the Multan Muscat flight from departure was illegal and unjust. The permission for flights to Riyadh, Sharjah, Jeddah and Karachi from Faisalabad were also submitted 21-Feb- 2017 but the CAA did not respond on the permission status and the flights were not operated as per plan i.e. from 2nd May 2017”.
It is worth mentioning here that on 30th April Sindh High Court (SHC) ruled in favour of Shaheen Air International (SAI) against the Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) over the RPT license issue. The court threw out demands by CAA giving Shaheen much needed relief. The high court also ordered that CAA cannot interfere with any business operations of SAI as long as they adhere to repayment schedule. Thus, act of removal of aero bridge and punishing SAI’s passengers is now illegal. Further lack of approval on routine new routes is also illegal.
SAI argued in its petition that it had suffered significant losses and damage to its reputation, internationally, as a result of the mishandling of the renewal of its RPT. We have yet to see how CAA will react to this and how this battle between Pakistan’s biggest private airline and country’s regulator ends.
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