LAHORE - Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) could not provide relief to hundreds of stranded Ummrah pilgrims after suspending flight operation of Shaheen Air on Saturday at different airports.

The CAA had been issuing warnings to Shaheen Air management for last few years to clear its dues amounting to Rs540 millions but to no avail.

A senior officer of CAA seeking anonymity said that operation services of the airline had already been suspended partially. The bridge service was not being provided to the airline planes and passengers were being boarded by transporting them by buses to the planes. A verbal warning was issued to the airline management to pay the dues to avoid any inconvenience.

On Saturday due to suspension of operations, Shaheen Air flights from Islamabad to Dubai and Dubai to Islamabad were not allowed to take off. CAA Director Air Transport, Syed Muzafar Alam had issued warning letter to the CAA in which Shaheen Air management was given a deadline of June 01 to clear its dues otherwise on June 02 flight operation could be suspended.

There were reports from Karachi that CAA, keeping in view the problems faced by passengers, allowed late on Saturday night the Shaheen Airline flights NL-221 and NL-224 to resume their operation.

Earlier Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) had asked the CAA to suspend local flight operations of Shaheen Air for its failure to pay federal excise duty (FED) amounting to millions of rupees. The FBR had also directed a bank to attach all the accounts of the company with immediate effect.

According to a letter sent to the CAA director general, an amount of Rs541.39 million was recoverable from the Shaheen Air International Limited under Federal Excise Act 2005. The federal excise duty payable for the month of March 2018 had not been paid up to due date which was 15th March, the letter said.

Besides halting the flight operations, the FBR had also directed a bank to attach accounts of the airline with immediate effect and also "keep all Pak Rupees bank accounts attached" of the Shaheen Air till it pays the government dues.