Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Saudi's fury after aircraft is seized in Paris

PLANE ANGER: Saudia officials are furious after one of its rented aircraft was seized by bailiffs in Paris.

Saudi Arabian Airlines (Saudia) has said that the seizure of one of its rented aircraft over a financial dispute could affect the continuation of its flights to France.

The Saudia Boeing 777-200 was seized at Charles de Gaulle airport, Paris in a legal dispute over a $2 million debt with Eagle Aviation.

Airport sources said the airliner was seized on Friday after its arrival from Riyadh by bailiffs acting on instructions from the Saint Nazaire commercial tribunal in the west of France, Saudi Gazette reported on Tuesday.

Eagle Aviation, an aircraft leasing firm based in Saint Nazaire, alleges that it is owed $2 million for providing the aircraft.

But Saudia’s top official has hit back, saying that his company would ask for more from Eagle Aviation.

“Saudi Arabian Airlines, in fact, is demanding much more amounts than what Eagle Aviation is claiming,” Saudia director general Khaled Al-Mulheim told the paper.

“We say that after they declined to make the regular adjustments on these amounts.”

He said he was surprised to hear of the seizure which he claimed was illegal according to Saudia's lawyer.

“After the French company’s bankruptcy, the authority appointed by the French court arbitrarily obtained a warrant to seize one of our planes, without paying attention to our rights or even informing us,” he said.

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