Passengers Intending to Travel to SA Left at The Mercy of PIA Agents
-- PIA officials, however, advising aspirants not to pay extra penny to travel agents
By Our Web Desk
Pakistanis who are aspiring to go to Saudi Arabia are being swindled by the agent mafia as they are paying up to Rs200,000 for a one-way air ticket against Rs84,000 official fare due to the availability of limited international flights.
The overcharging is taking place despite PIA warnings to ticket buyers not to pay extra and contact the officials in case of any complaint.
The Saudi government earlier on Thursday had granted special permission to Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) to operate 21 additional flights – on weekly basis – between the two countries.
According to a spokesperson of the national flag carrier, with the involvement of Prime Minister Imran Khan, 21 more flights were added to the PIA flight operations, bringing the capacity to fly 25,500 passengers.
He also informed that all nationals would be able to return to their homes and workplaces in Saudi Arabia before September 30.
However, the situation has worsened for the passengers as the rate of air tickets for Saudi Arabia being sold by the travel agents ranges from Rs130, 000 to Rs200, 000.
According to a travel agent, there are people who have earned extra profit worth Rs3 million by selling only 25 air tickets of different categories in a single day.
“Hundreds of passengers approach us daily for air tickets but we cannot accommodate all of them due to limited availability of air tickets,” he said.
The aspiring passengers, when approached PIA, were told that there were no tickets available and they should get in touch with their travel agents to resolve the matter.
The situation has exacerbated especially for those passengers who have to reach the kingdom by September 30 otherwise they would lose their jobs.
Reportedly, many of them even approached the government lawmakers to rectify the situation but it seemed every one of them was “helpless” against the unruly travel agents.
PIA’s spokesperson Abdullah Hafeez Khan told a news outlet that PIA has been asking everyone not to pay a single penny over the published fare by PIA.
People have the option to come our offices as PIA has issued 1,900 air tickets today to the passengers from our offices in Pakistan, he added.
“If PIA is unable to get its own fare implemented through travel agents the law-enforcement agencies need to come forward to identify PIA officials and travel agents who are allegedly earning hundreds of thousands extra from travelers,” says an affected ticket buyer.