ISLAMABAD: The Competition Commission of Pakistan (CCP) will finalise its report next week regarding alleged high charges by two airlines in the country amid a strike by PIA employees.

The Senate Standing Committee on Finance, presided over by Senator Salim Mandiwala, discussed the strike by PIA employees and the alleged price manipulation by other airlines taking advantage of the situation.

The committee members termed the PIA privatisation process the government’s clandestine activity and Senator Ilyas Bilour suggested that one member each from Senate and NA’s finance committees should be included in the privatisation team to ensure transparency in the entire privatisation process.

Meanwhile, the chairman of the committee said that representatives of the CCP and two private airlines had been called in the committee meeting to ascertain if the price manipulation was real or fake. “If there has been over-charging by airlines then it should not happen again,” Senator Salim Mandviwala said.

CCP Chairperson Vidya Khalil told the Standing Committee on Finance that there had been reports that Shaheen Airlines and Air Blue took advantage of the PIA’s strike and overcharged the people.

“We have asked people to come up with their complaints and representatives of the two private airlines have been asked to submit their reports too in this regard,” Vidya Khalil told the committee.

She said that the public response was slow. However, some committee members travelling from Karachi to Islamabad said that they had to pay higher than normal charges.

Meanwhile, officials of two the airlines who have been called to attend the meeting denied any overcharging and said that travel agents might have charged high fares.

The Deputy Managing Director of Shaheen Airlines told the committee that there were 25 various seat categories in airlines with different charges with the lowest fare of Rs6000 and the highest being Rs20,000.

An official of the Airblue said that the airline’s highest Karachi-Islamabad return ticket fare was Rs18018 and the lowest was Rs7581, inclusive of taxes.

The officials of the two airlines said that they had already submitted their ticket and other data to the CCP and some other information sought by the organisation would soon be provided to it.

Published in Dawn, February 10th, 2016

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