PIA management has admitted that it has over charged poor Hajis as it had calculated fares based on fuel price of US $120 per barrel while the actual price of fuel had fallen to under $72 much before the start of Haj operations. Airlines all over the world have resorted to hedging on fuel to offset the effect of fuel price hikes in order to keep their fares attractive and competitive. This is based on advice of specialists who after evaluating the socio political situation prevailing in major oil producing countries and the oil consuming economies, predict oil price for the benefit of the airlines. The fuel price was expected to fall as the American elections approached and this is what happened. Any qualified and educated professional airline executive would be conversant with this pattern based on years of experience. Airlines like SIA, Cathay Pacific have managed to cut their losses by earning from profits made by selling their excess hedged-fuel. It speaks volumes about the lack of professional competence and integrity of the PIA executives that they decided to hedge fuel at $120 per barrel and then passed on this load to the poor Hajis. -NASIR K., Peshawar, via e-mail, December 13.