KARACHI: Private airlines have raised fares for the stranded passengers amid ongoing strike by the employees of Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) against privatisation of the national flag carrier.
Most of the passengers were seen crowding the counters of private airlines.
Usually, the one-way fare from Karachi to Lahore or Islamabad is around Rs8,000 to Rs9,000 but after the strike by the joint action committee of PIA employees, private airlines have increased it to Rs15,000.
Tickets of domestic flights are also being sold at around Rs25,000 to Rs30,000 in black.
Two different private airlines transported two dead bodies from Karachi to Islamabad only after receiving 45000 each as fare. It is worth mentioning here that normally these airlines claim that they transport dead bodies free of cost on the condition of one confirmed ticket.
The stranded passengers are saying that they have already been facing difficulties in reaching to the airports due to strike by PIA employees and to add to their difficulties, the private airlines have made staggering increase in fare.
On the other hand, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said Essential Services Maintenance Act has been extended to PIA to improve performance of national flag carrier.
Talking to newsmen in Sahiwal, he said the strike in PIA had the backing of some political parties, which is causing one hundred million rupees loss per day.
He said the passengers face hardships due to poor service of PIA and the poor condition of its fleet.
The Prime Minister said the striking employees will face action. He, however, maintained that those employees, who were doing good job in PIA, and were not paying heed to the striking elements, would be rewarded.
Meanwhile, the Civil Aviation Authority has decided to take emergency steps to mitigate sufferings of passengers.
In a statement, Civil Aviation Authority spokesman said the authority has directed private airline Air Blue to start special flights for the purpose.
The airline has been asked to operate additional flights for Lahore, Karachi, and Islamabad.
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