LAHORE - The Pakistan International Airline has set another precedent of unprecedented service for Umrah pilgrims.
While passengers have been going through up to 24-hour delay in Pakistan-Saudi Arabia sector, no national airline official has been deployed at Jeddah Airport to look after passengers after delay , said Muhammad Nawaz, who returned to Lahore from Saudi Arabia after performing Umrah.
About the sorry story of his travel from Jeddah to Lahore by PIA flight Pk-7246, Nawaz said 400 passengers were left at the mercy of airport authorities there. He said the flight was scheduled to take off at 7:30am as per Saudi time on February 2.
He said: “Nine hours before the flight takeoff schedule; the pilgrims were dropped at Jeddah Airport instead of Jeddah Haj Terminal, normally used for pilgrimage. Later, airport management asked passengers to report to Haj terminal where they reached by hiring trolleys and taxis for SR100,” said Nawaz.
After reaching there, he added that the flight was delayed by 8:30pm and there were PIA officials to look after them. Later, the passengers were taken to a hotel one-and-half hour drive away from the airport, Nawaz said, complaining that their luggage was also damaged.
Moreover, he said that passengers were transported back 5 hours before departure time to the airport where the flight got delayed by another 6 hours. The flight took off at 1:30 am on February 3 and landed at 5:30am at Allama Iqbal International Airport Lahore, he concluded. Relatives of the passengers complained that the PIA was only focusing to increase fare. They said that on the most sensitive station of Jeddah, the Umrah passengers have been left at the mercy of travel agents and hotel owners of Saudi Arabia.
The arrival and departure of Umrah flights were being delayed up to 14 hours. On Monday, a flight scheduled for Jeddah from Lahore Pk-743 was supposed to take off at 5:00pm but took off at 11:55pm. Similarly Pk-760 coming from Jeddah was scheduled to land at 10:00am but was late and was expected to land at 11:55 pm.