The Competition Commission of Pakistan (CCP) on Wednesday took notice of the substantial increase in air fares by the private airlines following the disruption of Pakistan International Airline (PIA)'s flight operations due to a strike by its employees.

CCP is mandated by the Competition Act, 2010 to check anticompetitive practices by businesses. Such practices include excessive increase in prices by businesses having market power and collective fixation of prices or collusion by competing businesses.

CCP is cognizant of media reports regarding a sharp rise in private airline fares following the disruption of PIA's flight operations due to a strike by its employees. CCP is probing the matter under the law and strict action will be taken against any undertaking indulging in anti-competitive practices.

Private airlines have raised fares for the stranded passengers after strike of employees of PIA entered into second day yesterday. All domestic and international flights of Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) were cancelled on Wednesday, which provided private companies to earn maximum profit. The private airlines have started charging more than double fares from the passengers by taking the opportunity of the strike of PIA’s employees against the privatization of national flag carrier. According to the media reports, the private airlines have enhanced the fare one-way from Karachi to Lahore upto Rs18000 from Rs8000. Similarly, fares of other routes have also been enhanced.

It is worth mentioning here that the government has already delayed the privatization of PIA for six months, which was supposed to complete by the end of June this as per commitment with the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Similarly, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has given an assurance that no employee would lose job. However, the employees of the PIA demanded of the government to withdraw the bill, which converted PIA into corporation, paving way for its privatization.