Grounded airlines vows to sue CAAN

Kathmandu, May 19:

A day after the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal grounded (CAAN) Cosmic Air’s two Fokkers citing default in the agreement between leasing companies and the airline, the latter has vowed to move court. The airline claims it has been regularly clearing the companies’ bills.

“We are going to move court on Sunday against the forced grounding of our aircraft since 5 pm yesterday,” said Upendra Karki, marketing director of Cosmic Air. He argued that the airline has a deal with the leasing companies AerCap Ireland Ltd and AerCo Ltd for another two years and that the CAAN grounded the aircraft without assigning a valid reason.

“Why should our aircraft be grounded when we have been regularly clearing the companies’ payments and also meeting requirements as per the lease agreement?” questioned Karki, emphasising that the airline had been flying as per the stay order from the court. He, however, claimed that the airline has been running its daily international operation with a single Fokker and without causing inconvenience to passengers.

The CAAN rejected Cosmic Air’s argument outright. “We grounded Cosmic Air’s aircraft at the leasing companies request for default in the payment and lease agreement,” said a source at the CAAN, adding that the leasing companies had complained of irregular payment and asked the CAAN to ground the aircraft.

“There is a provision in the Airline Operation Certificate which gives the CAAN the authority to suspend the concerned airline’s flights or ground the aircraft for breach of agreement,” he told this daily.

“The aircraft will remain grounded until both the parties sort out their differences through negotiations,” he added. Of the two grounded aircraft, one was already non-operational since November last year due to technical reasons.