Malaysian authorities have impounded a B777-200ER operated by PIA - Pakistan International Airlines (PK, Islamabad International) over a lease payment dispute, with the aircraft now parked at Kuala Lumpur International after a court order prevented it from flying out earlier this week.

AP-BMH (msn 32717) had operated a scheduled passenger service into the Malaysian capital from Islamabad International on May 29 when authorities stepped in to seize it. PIA leases the plane from AerCap, and it is owned by a special purpose vehicle called Peregrine Aviation Charlie Limited (Peregrine). In turn, Peregrine is owned by NCB Capital, the investment arm of the Saudi Arabia-based National Commercial Bank, and has over USD50 billion in assets under management.

In 2017, AerCap sold 21 aircraft to Peregrine whilst maintaining management rights and a minority equity interest in the planes. AP-BMH was one of those aircraft. PIA also has a second B777-200ER on lease from AerCap from the same batch. In late 2020, the lessor filed a suit against the carrier in the High Court of Justice in London, saying PIA owed it approximately USD14 million in overdue lease payments and securing an ex-parte injunction to repossess both planes. Subsequently, Malaysia Airports Holdings Berhad stopped AP-BMH from leaving after it landed at Kuala Lumpur in March 2021. After two weeks of negotiations, the parties reached a settlement, and the aircraft was released.

This time, AerCap reportedly secured an impound order from a Malaysian court and says PIA owes it approximately USD4 million in overdue lease payments for AP-BMH. PIA has confirmed the claim but says the amount it owes is around USD1.8 million. A spokesperson for PIA - Pakistan International Airlines told ch-aviation that they expected to have the aircraft operational again within a matter of days. "There were some reconciliation issues which have been resolved between both the parties and all payments pertaining to the engines were paid," the spokesperson said, noting that the same court that issued the seizure order must rescind it.