Update: The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has restored the RPT license of Shaheen Air International (SAI) allowing it to resume its hajj operations in order to bring back the stranded Hajj pilgrims from Saudi Arabia.
Hundreds of Pakistani Hajj pilgrims have been trapped in Saudi Arabia as Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) refused to extend Shaheen Air International’s (SAI) Regular Public Transport License (RPTL). Hajj pilgrims trapped in Saudi airports have appealed Prime Minister to help them get back home.
In a video sent to ProPakistani from Madina, a middle-aged woman requested Prime Minister to take action on the issue. They were at Medina airport for their flight but no representative of SAI was present at the airport. She demanded the government to send an aircraft so that they can reach home.
“We are many Pakistanis waiting for SAI flights but no one from airline has contacted us. Elderly Pakistanis are also stuck waiting for their respective flights,” the woman said in the video.
CAA spokesperson informed the public in a press note that RPTL of SAI expired on August 30th 2018. The authority claims that SAI has no aircraft in its innovatory under this license. CAA added that SAI is a defaulter of Rs. 1.4 billion and the authority is taking legal action to recover its dues.
CAA refused to take any responsibility for the failure of SAI. Regulator of commercial airlines urged public and shippers to be cautious and take action against the company to safeguard their own rights.
Despite the cancelation of RPTL, CAA instructed SAI management to make alternate arrangements to bring back Hajj pilgrims. These Hajj pilgrims were transported by SAI for Hajj 2018.
Spokesperson SAI Zohaib Hassan told ProPakistani that SAI suspended its post-Hajj operation as CAA refused to extend RPTL.
To resolve this issue, a meeting was held on Friday between the SAI and CAA management where the airline requested the regulatory authority to extend its RPTL. CAA refused to extend the license on the ground that the SAI failed to pay its dues.
“RPT license is automatically extended every quarter. However, during the meeting today between airline management and CAA, the regulator refused to extend the license thereby risking the journey of the Hajj pilgrims that were supposed to fly with us,” Zohaib added.
Zohaib claimed that CAA had assured SAI that no action would be taken during the post-Hajj operation to ensure smooth management of the Hajj pilgrims. The honorable court had also ordered the same. CAA has again violated court orders.
He also rejects the CAA claim about the inventory of aircraft and said that SAI had four A330 and two A320 planes registered on CAA rulebook which were pre-requisites for international operation as per CAA. The suspension of license halts the post-Hajj operation of the airline.
SAI Spokesperson urged the CAA to restored its RPTL so it can operate flights and bring back Hajj pilgrims who are trapped in the Saudi Kingdom.