The German chief executive of Pakistan’s cash-strapped national carrier PIA has been sacked amid corruption charges. According to a Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) statement, Bernd Hildenbrand was ousted yesterday and Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Nayyar Hayat has been given the charge of acting CEO of the national carrier. “This has approval of the competent authority,” read the notification by PIA’s chief human resource officer. 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.
“My conscience is clear. I haven’t done anything wrong. There’s no question of any corruption on my part,” he said. “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,” he said in a statement.
The decision to put Hildenbrand on exit control list came after the National Assembly was told that PIA had suffered losses of about Rs 180 crores on a premium service on the domestic route and also in connection with the airlines acquiring a plane from Sri Lankan Airlines at an exorbitant price than the prevailing market rate. Apparently the airline acquired a plane from Sri Lankan Airlines at USD 8,000 per hour, while another airline had acquired the same type of plane at USD 4,000 per hour.
Hildenbrand was also barred from leaving the country in December 2016 after a controversy erupted when the national airline sold a flight-worthy aircraft (A-310) to a German museum at a throwaway price. He cannot leave the country until his name is removed from the exit control list.