KARACHI - Pakistan International Airlines yesterday introduced attractive airfares to regain the lost position in competitive airlines market during a week of strike of PIA employees against the privatisation decision of the government.

PIA claimed the reduction had been announced in international and domestic fares to facilitate its passengers while travel agents appreciated the decision and hoped the airline would regain its image that was lost due to the employees’ strike.

A PIA spokesperson, in its statement, said the airline management had reduced its fares on domestic and major international flights, including Umrah fares, with immediate effect to stabilise unrealistic hike in fares and to facilitate its valued customers.

As per the announcement, fares on Karachi-Islamabad-Karachi and Karachi-Lahore-Karachi would now be starting from Rs 7,500 while return tickets for Umrah would start from Rs 54,500 for passengers from Lahore and Islamabad and Rs 44,500 from Karachi.

When contacted, Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) Committee on Aviation and Travel Agents Association of Pakistan (TAAP) chairman Yahya Polani told The Nation that the PIA management decision, ahead of the prominent decline in the airline fares, was remarkable.

He said reduction in fares would be helpful to restore the confidence of people in PIA that had been lost during the skirmish between the employees and the government while the airlines will also rebuild its image among the worldwide passengers.

He said travel agents were appreciating the reduction of fares as 25 percent for Umrah passengers and more than 50 percent in domestic routes, adding the fares of the airline were 33 percent cheaper as compared to private airlines and other foreign airlines. Polani also lauded PIA for shifting benefits of reduced petroleum prices in international market to its passengers.

It is worth mentioning here that the decision about the reduction of fares comes a day after the PIA employees called off the strike while during the strike private airlines had also taken advantage of the situation, hiking their fares by almost 200 percent.

Meanwhile, an official of PIA, on condition of anonymity, said the decision of reduction in fares had been made for a few days to restore the image and trust among the passengers while after a week the previous fares would be charged.