PIA - Pakistan International Airlines (PK, Karachi Int'l) has paid USD2 million in outstanding payments to SriLankan Airlines (UL, Colombo Int'l) over the wet-lease of an A330-300 aircraft, reports the Sri Lankan Sunday Times, quoting an unnamed senior official. The payment was for arrears and for additional flying hours.

As previously reported, the wet-lease of 4R-ALN (msn 1604) has been controversial, with Pakistani officials considering it 'exorbitant'. Former PIA Acing CEO Bernd Hildenbrand was investigated about the deal earlier this year, which saw PIA paying USD8,100 per flight hour, rather than the market price of USD6,000.

"They flew more than the contracted number of hours per month," Suren Ratwatte, Chief Executive Officer of SriLankan, told news site Lanka Information. "So the extra flying was practically all profit for us."

PIA had used the aircraft on its Premier brand Islamabad Quaid-e-Azam Int'lLondon Heathrow route, which allegedly lost PKR1.5 billion (USD14.2 million) over the course of its operation. PIA returned the aircraft in March at the expiry of the six-month contract.