ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court (SC) on Wednesday ordered Shaheen Airline to reimburse the passengers who were left stranded in Guangzhou, China, after the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) suspended the airline’s flight operations in August.
Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nasir, while hearing the case on Wednesday, increased the amount of damages that the airline’s lawyer had estimated as compensation to be paid to affected passengers.
Shaheen Airline’s lawyer stated that the total number of passengers who were stranded in China was 200. Some of these passengers were in the foreign country for one to three days while others were there for six days.
According to the lawyer, the damages were estimated to be at Rs125,000 for each passenger affected for six days, Rs100,000 for passengers affected for three days and Rs50,000 for passengers who were stranded for a day.
The total value of damages to be paid to affected customers by these calculations equalled Rs17 million whereas, the lawyer informed that Shaheen Airlines had already submitted Rs20 million to the court.
However, the CJP raising an eyebrow over the costs of being stranded in the expensive country, instructed the airline to pay those passengers who were stranded for six days Rs150,000 each and Rs125,000 to those stranded for three days. The top judge ordered the lawyer to calculate the estimated payments for all other passengers on the same pattern.
Noting that the airline had so far deposited Rs20m, the top judge said that the deadline to deposit the remaining amount ends in 10 days and wrapped up the case.
On July 29, a Shaheen Airlines flight to Guangzhou was cancelled after the CAA decided to suspend the airline’s flight operations excluding Haj flights due to non-payment of its dues of over Rs1.5 billion.
Hundreds of passengers were left stranded at the Chinese airport. Later, the tickets of a few passengers were refunded on request, while a few others were provided with hotels, food and basic amenities.
However, 214 passengers who were supposed to board the flight back to Pakistan had remained stranded in China for almost nine days, only returning after the CJP ordered the immediate repatriation of the passengers.
The CAA had given special permission to the SAI to send a plane to bring back the passengers on August 6.