WEB DESK: Private airlines, reportedly owned by influential people, including politicians, took full advantage of Pakistan Airlines Pilots’ Association’s (PALPA) strike by increasing fares by upto 100 percent, an anecdotal survey of travel agents carried out by Business Recorder revealed.
The seven-day Palpa strike accounts for an estimated loss of Rs 600 million to PIA with around 80 cancelled flights.
Travel agents in the twin cities of Rawalpindi/Islamabad confirmed that private airlines including Air Blue and Shaheen increased fares by upto 100 percent on some domestic routes.
Normal one-way fare from Islamabad to Karachi is Rs 10000-12000; however private airlines charged upto Rs 24000-25000 for each flight. During the Senate standing committee on cabinet secretariat meeting on Wednesday Senator Kalsoom Perveen and Talha Mehmood accused private airlines of charging Rs 22000-25000 for a Rs 7000 air ticket. The strike allegedly served the vested interests of private airlines, they added.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has taken a serious note of the sudden and unjustified increase in the fares of private airlines and instructed the authorities concerned to carry out an inquiry into the matter; the report would be presented to the Prime Minister.
The Competition Commission of Pakistan (CCP) has also initiated an inquiry against those private airlines that increased their fares manifold during the Palpa’s strike; however Senator Kamil Ali Agha said that during several previous meetings the CCP had admitted that it has no legal role in such matters due to which most of the cases are sub-judice.
Federal Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources Khaqan Abbasi is reportedly the owner of Air Blue airline. When contacted Air Blue and Shaheen Air International officials denied that they increased fares but acknowledged that sometimes fares fluctuate due to heavy rush. Nowadays flights are going full and may be some increase in fares was witnessed, they added.
Source: Business Recorder