PIA offers to carry relief material for free
Pakistani expatriates crowd PIA's reservations and ticketing offices in Doha to buy tickets to fly to Peshawar and Islamabad - Copyright 'The Peninsula'
Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) has offered to carry for free relief material to the quake-hit parts of Pakistan, Mohammad Shafique, the airline's manager, said here yesterday. Private carrier Aero Asia has also increased its seat capacity by five per cent on its Peshawar-bound flight departing Doha tonight and offered free carriage on this service for deserving passengers.
Speaking to The Peninsula, Shafique said PIA's Wednesday flight to Peshawar and Friday flight to Islamabad were heavily booked by those whose families reside in the quake-hit areas. “We are giving very high priority to such passengers,” he noted, adding the Pakistani national carrier's flights from the UAE were also heavily overbooked. Some six Pakistanis whose families in the quake hit areas were affected, left on PIA's flight to Karachi yesterday evening.
Jamal Faik, Country Manager, Aero Asia, said his airline had increased its seat capacity from Doha to Peshawar by five per cent for tonight's flight. These seats, he said, would be specially reserved for passengers whose families back home are affected and would be sold at discounted rates or offered free, if merited. The demand for seats on Aero Asia's twice weekly service between Doha and Peshawar, he said, had also soared as a large number of people from the affected region are trying to fly home.
PIA will, however, not offer any special, discounted fares. PIA can augment its seat capacity temporarily if justified by a demand. He estimated some 70 per cent of Pakistani expatriates hail from the worst hit North West Frontier Province (NWFP), with a few from Islamabad and its surrounding areas and even fewer from Pakistan-controlled Kashmir.
The official said demand for seats from Doha to Peshawar and Islamabad could increase within a couple of days as the extent of the devastation becomes clear. “People are anxiously awaiting how they can reach the affected areas as the roads there were obliterated by the quake. Once the situation is clearer, people from the area might opt to fly there," he added.
Source: The Peninsula