ISLAMABAD    -  Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) main ticketing branch outsourced in Copenhagen, Denmark, is accused of deducting thousands of Danish Krone (local currency- DKs) from overseas Pakistanis residing there, despite the national aircraft carrier had announced full refund of tickets for them, The Nation learnt on Thursday. 

The European Union Air Safety Agency (EASA) earlier in June this year had suspended flight operation of the national aircraft carrier in the block after the Aviation Division had grounded 262 pilots of the PIA on having dubious licenses. 

The PIA had announced to extend bookings or get full refund for the passengers in Europe who had already purchased tickets before COVID-19 emerged and later the flight operation was suspended.  

However, Pakistani community members in Denmark have sent a complaint to the PIA Head Office in Karachi, Booking office, Oslo Norway and main ticketing branch in Copenhagen that the sales office in later destination had deducted heavy amount of local currency from them without any reason. 

Documents available with The Nation said that three complainants so far have claimed 14700 DKs which is around 377929 Pakistani rupees, while number of passengers have suffered, but not approached for refund of complete amount. 

Osman Aftab, a complainant, informed The Nation that he and his father had bought eight tickets for family against payment of 41500 DKs (Around Rs 115692), however the main PIA branch staff returned 30800 DKs Around (Rs791852). 

“Above 10000 DKs (Rs 257094) was deducted by the local staff despite government had announced full refund of tickets,” said Osman.  

Muhammad Sarfraz alleged that he had purchased five tickets in the month of March against 20000 DKs (Rs514189) and was returned 18000 DKs (Rs 462770) with deduction of 2000 DKs (Rs51418) which was unexpected and huge deduction.

He said when he inquired from the PIA main sales branch about the reason for deduction, the staff said “we deduct 07% amount as handling charges”. 

“My family decided to discontinue PIA services in future after this dishonesty,” Sarfaraz said. 

The documentary evidence of the amount in which air-tickets were purchased and refunded amount showed the difference claimed by the complainants. 

Another overseas resident in Denmark, Rubina Shaheen said that she had to wait for around seven months for refund of her ticket and that also happened after she stormed into the main PIA branch office and had harsh words with the staff. 

“I received full amount because I remained furious over their behaviour, however several other Pakistanis suffered with deduction of the amount,” she said. 

She said that even private agents deduct 100-150 DKs as their charges but main PIA office was found deducting heavy charges despite government announcement of full refund. 

Meanwhile, the PIA refund department official Shahzad told The Nation that PIA was fully refunding the ticket-amount to its passengers. He said that PIA Copenhagen ticketing office had been outsourced; however the head office was not claiming any ‘handling’ charges. 

“If anyone has been unfairly charged he can claim the refund by properly filing application with the PIA,” he said. 

Shahzad said that delay in refund in not unusual as the PIA like other airlines had suffered financially during COVID-19 and additionally due to suspension of flight operations. 

Meanwhile, PIA Copenhagen main ticketing branch finance officer Asif said that they were deducting only ‘admin fee’ which was around 300 DKs to 400 DKs as per rule of the government. However, he didn’t explain the rule.