Pakistan International Airlines (PIA), the nation’s flagship carrier, is grappling with operational challenges caused by a shortage of fuel. 

Concurrently, private airlines are capitalising on this situation for their own advantage.

In light of the disruption in PIA’s flight operations, private airlines have swiftly increased their fares. Domestic flights are now priced at a range of Rs40,000 to Rs70,000, with Lahore-Karachi routes reaching as high as Rs49,000 per seat. 

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Meanwhile, one-way fares from Karachi to Islamabad are commanding prices between Rs55,000 and Rs61,000.

This development follows a week of disruptions in PIA’s domestic flight schedule, resulting in a surge of intending passengers. A spokesperson for a private airline attributed the disparity in demand and supply to this sudden influx of travellers.

Simultaneously, PIA’s financial predicament is deepening, with the cancellation of 35 domestic and foreign flights. The interruption in fuel supply has also caused significant delays for both domestic and international flights across the country. Airline administrations have scrambled to create new departure schedules for these affected flights.

Regarding outstanding dues, the Pakistan State Oil (PSO) revealed that PIA owed Rs3.45 billion for fuel supplied between October 1 and 18, with an additional Rs195 million provided on the mentioned Thursday. 

The total liabilities for the current month have reached Rs2.11 billion, compounding PIA’s existing debt of Rs26 billion accumulated over the years. A provisional agreement between PSO and PIA for daily fuel supply in exchange for daily payments has been established.

The current turmoil in PIA’s flight operations is primarily attributable to the suspension of fuel supply by the Pakistan State Oil due to non-payment of dues. 

According to Samaa, the suspension has impacted Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad, and Peshawar, although international flights remain unaffected. PIA’s financial woes have already led to flight cancellations and delays, making the fuel supply suspension a significant setback for the struggling airline.