India to take possession of Bangladeshi Aircraft for recovery of heavy parking dues

The aircraft was stationed at Raipur’s Swami Vivekananda Airport with pending dues of Rs 1.5 crore.

The Raipur Airport managed by the Airport Authority of India (AAI), is ready to start a seizure process against an aircraft of Bangladesh based United Airways. The aircraft was parked at Swami Vivekananda Airport with total outstanding dues of over Rs 1.5 crores for parking and additional technical charges.

Rakesh Sahay, Raipur Airport Director, told ANI  that they have given the last chance to United Airways to clear the dues and take away the aircraft. “The total outstanding bill is around Rs 1.5 crores. If the company fails to pay the matter will go to the legal department of AAI,” he added.

According to the director, United Airways Flight MD-83 took off from Dhaka to Muscat. on August 7, 2015. It carried a total of 173 passengers. As per the information from Raipur Airport, the engine of the aircraft caught fire mid-air and the aircraft made an emergency landing at Raipur Airport. Since then, the flight has been parked at the airport.

“The company has not been able to take any concrete steps to address the issue till now”, Mr Sahay added.

There had been no casualties during the emergency landing. The airline company has been in contact with the Raipur Airport officials since then. Last year, the airline executives gave assurance to the Raipur Airport Officials that the company will clear all the dues within nine months. But, the nine-month deadline ended last Friday, and neither any payment nor any promise came from the company.

In an email, the Raipur Airport authorities have given one last chance to the Bangladeshi company to clear all the dues.

The email, that was sent on Friday states: “Considering the covid-19 pandemic, the airport has given you (united Airlines) enough time. We are giving you more than 15 days to clear all the outstanding dues, and start the process of auctioning the aircraft.”

“The issue has been escalated to Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), as the matter concerns two neighbouring countries.  The Bangladesh embassy has been intimated. The AAI has even reached to the Bangladesh consulate office in Kolkata.” , a senior official told ANI.

The aviation officials said that the emergency landing of the aircraft was not an “easy affair”, and that multiple teams from AAI, were engaged, especially the ATC (AIR TRAFFIC CONTROL).

Explaining the emergency landing of 2015, Sahay further said “Since the flight was en route to international destination, it was flying over 36,000 feet. After the pilot confirmed a fire in the engine, major airports from Kolkata to Raipur were taken in loop to help the aircraft in landing. Raipur ATC had gotten an SOS from the pilots of United Airways, and the ATC advised the pilots to land at Raipur Airport, since it was crossing Chattisgarh at that time.”

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