KARACHI: Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) has slashed its fares by one-fourth on domestic flights for the first two days on Eid (September 2 & 3) as it seeks to tap into a diminishing market on holidays.
“There is usually a low rate of bookings on flights during Eid holidays. The offer [25% discount] would stimulate operations on the days,” said the airlines spokesman Mashhood Tajwar on Tuesday.
“Why should we give the discount if flights are full or overcrowded?” he replied.
“This is a new niche market,” he said, adding that it would help avoid flight cancellation in case of low booking.
The sluggish sale of tickets is in contrast to the practice where passengers pay double the fare to take flights on eve of Eid or a day or two earlier, he said.
The discount is being offered on flights to/from Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad, Peshawar, Quetta, Multan and Faisalabad.
The offered discount would be withdrawn in case passengers, later on, reschedule flights against the tickets bought for the Eid days.
“If the offered discount does not flare revenues, it would at least arrest a drop [in the revenue], if any.”
The increased purchasing power has allowed more people to take short trips to meet their family members and friends. Whereas initially people travelled by air only when they had to and then too, they would prolong their trips to fully utilise the cost.
PIA sold one million additional tickets last year. This year, it would be higher than that, the spokesman hoped.
PIA seat booking’s rate stays at around 73%. “We aim to increase it to 75-76% during the current year. Addition of new destinations on international routes will help achieve the target,” said Tajwar.
He said that Pakistan’s aviation industry is increasing at an average growth rate of 8-10% per annum, which is more than double of 3.5-4% growth rate across the world.
However, PIA’s accumulated losses ballooned 7.3% to Rs282.20 billion in the six-month peiord ended June 30, 2016.
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