Pakistan's cash-strapped national carrier, Pakistan International Airlines (PIA), has sacked its chief executive officer and former Lufthansa executive, Bernd Hildenbrand amid corruption charges, several media reports from Pakistan said. Hildenbrand has denied any wrongdoing.
According to a PIA statement, Hildenbrand was ousted and chief financial officer (CFO) Nayyar Hayat has taken over as acting CEO. The statement, issued by PIA's chief human resource officer,
added that the move has the approval of "the competent authority.”
Hildenbrand, who on April 6 had gone on a 15-day leave, was put on the exit control list and barred from travelling abroad following the initiation of a probe into corruption charges against him. This followed a similar move in December 2016 when a controversy erupted over PIA selling a flight-worthy Airbus A310 to a German museum at a throwaway price.
Pakistan’s FIA makes Hildenbrand responsible for questionable deals
"My conscience is clear. I haven't done anything wrong. There's no question of any corruption on my part," Hildenbrand was quoted as saying. "Whatever I did was to the best of my ability and in the best interest of PIA. All major transactions were made with the approval of Board of Directors and according to the rules."
The decision to put Hildenbrand on exit control list came after the country's Federal Investigation Agency informed the National Assembly that PIA had suffered losses of about Rs 180 crores (US1.7m) on a premium route on its domestic network, as well as the lease of an Airbus A330 from Sri Lankan Airlines at an exorbitant price which, the FIA claimed, was way above the prevailing market rate.
Nol van Fenema