Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has frozen the bank accounts of Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) due to its failure to pay Rs8 billion in Federal Excise Duty (FED).
A total of 13 bank accounts of the national carrier were affected, including those linked with the International Air Transport Association (IATA).
FBR officials have indicated their intention to file a First Information Report (FIR) against PIA officials for not submitting the required FED, even after the accounts were restored the previous month.
A representative from PIA has stated that the freezing of the bank accounts will not impact the airline’s flight operations, as there are ongoing discussions at the government level to resolve the matter and restore the accounts.
This move came after a similar incident in July when FBR froze all of PIA’s bank accounts due to tax non-payment. However, these accounts were later unfrozen after discussions between FBR and PIA.
Over recent years, the national carrier faced financial challenges attributed to fund mismanagement, increasing operational expenses, and rising fuel prices. The airline’s compliance with international safety standards also came under scrutiny, resulting in temporary bans and restrictions in various countries.
It’s worth noting that PIA allegedly failed to deposit around Rs4 billion in FED, which it had collected from ticket sales.
This non-payment also affected the airline’s ability to procure fuel from the Pakistan State Oil (PSO) during previous account freezes.