PIA, Serene Air and Air Blue’s domestic flights are now more expensive.
The airlines have all increased their one-way fares by Rs10,000 to Rs15,000, citing a higher demand and not enough flights.
Travel Agents Association Chairman Nadeem Sharif said the airlines cite higher demand and jack up prices. They have been doing this for almost two years, ever since Shaheen Air closed, he said.
Shaheen Air used to operate three flights from Karachi to Lahore and three flights from Lahore to Karachi every day. It also operated three return flights from Karachi to Islamabad. Once it closed down, there was a sudden drop in the number of flights.
The airlines use this as an excuse to increase prices, said Sharif, especially in the winter season.
A one-way flight from Karachi to Lahore now costs Rs35,000. That means a return ticket could cost up to Rs70,000.
But it isn’t just the Karachi route that has become more expensive. Tickets from Lahore to Peshawar, Quetta, Islamabad, Rahim Yar Khan and Faisalabad all cost between Rs10,000 and Rs15,000 more one-way.
These fares are expected to decrease once the winter season is over and demand reduces. Two years ago, a one-way ticket on the Lahore to Karachi route cost Rs10,000 to Rs11,000.
Sharif said the Competition Commission of Pakistan had taken notice of these high fares but nothing was done.
The higher fares have impacted travel agents’ business, with fewer people willing or even able to travel by air. But train tickets aren’t as easily available either. Ever since an online system was introduced, more people have been travelling by trains and you now have to book your seat 15 days in advance.