LAHORE - A three-member team of FIA investigators has reached Karachi to probe alleged corruption in PIA leased aircrafts.

Following the directives of Interior Minister Ch Nisar Ali Khan, FIA started above said inquiry and the team will not only collect relevant record but also record statements of senior officers of the national carrier allegedly involved in the illegal lease of A-320 and A-330 aircrafts. The FIA team headed by Assistant Director FIA, Punjab Lahore, Aman Ulllah Khan has left for Karachi to collect the record.

As per preliminary inquiry an FIA officer seeking anonymity said that PIA management leased the above mentioned aircrafts on inflated rates as compared to other private airlines of the country.

Sources in FIA said investigators had sought record from PIA and Shaheen airlines, but the national carrier management was reluctant to provide relevant record of the leased aircraft.

An FIA officer seeking anonymity said that assigning inquiry to FIA Punjab Lahore regarding the leased planes was unprecedented; normally, it was conducted by FIA Karachi or Islamabad.

A-330 aircraft from Sri Lankan Airlines leased at astronomically high rate is shocking, an FIA investigator said. Sri Lankan Airlines wanted to downsize their fleet because their accumulated loss had reached $993 million, while PIA losses had risen to over Rs 300 billion by the 3rd quarter of 2016 as per briefing given to the Senate committee with over Rs 5 billion losses every month. It has become a controversial practice in PIA that they lease aircraft of the same type at 60 to 100 percent higher rates than that leased by other private airlines of Pakistan.

If PIA had ascertained reasons why Sri Lankan Airlines was desperate to lease A330 aircraft to a customer, they would have found out that huge losses forced them to do so.

The Sri Lankan prime minister had appointed his brother-in-law Kapila Chandrasena as CEO with no commercial aviation experience or management qualification, who embarked on over ambitious programme for increasing capacity by signing a controversial agreement to induct six A330 and four A350. Debt-ridden Sri Lankan Airlines with accumulated losses of $ 993 million has leased four of its A330 aircraft to PIA as cost-cutting measures to save it from bankruptcy. Former President Rajapaske and several of his relatives, including his brother-in-law, are under investigation.