Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) has suspended service to Kabul, Afghanistan after the Taliban demanded it cut ticket prices.
Taliban Demand PIA Cut Ticket Prices, Prompting Service Suspension
PIA is the only International carrier operating regularly scheduled service to Afghanistan…well was the only carrier. On Thursday, PIA announced it was suspending service, blaming “heavy-handed interference” by Taliban authorities.
PIA spokesman Abdullah Hafeez Khan explained:
“Our flights frequently faced undue delays because of the unprofessional attitude of the Kabul aviation authorities.”
Ticket prices are out of reach for the vast majority of Afghans, having grown exponentially due to the lack of competition. Tickets that used to be in the $150 range now cost as much as $2,500.
That led the Afghan Transport Ministry to issue a statement demanding that fares “be adjusted to correspond with the conditions of a ticket before the victory of the Islamic Emirate.”
But PIA insists this is a supply-demand issue and its pricing is not unreasonable. Furthermore PIA pays a $400,000 insurance premium on the high-risk route. Consequently, until “the situation becomes conducive,” the route will remain suspended.
Al Jazeera reported that Taliban officials were “derogatory” to PIA staff members at Kabul and in one instance “physically manhandled” an employee. At one point, a PIA representative was held at gunpoint for several hours. Only after the Pakistani embassy intervened was the man freed.
PIA is leaving Afghanistan, blaming heavy-handed tactics by the Taliban. In the interim, with the exception of a spattering of humanitarian and charter flights, Afghans remain trapped in their own country.
> Read More on PIA:
- Pakistan International Airlines 777 Business Class Manchester To New York
- Pakistan International Airlines A320 Crashes, Killing 97 Onboard
- Where The Two Survivors Were Sitting When PIA Airbus A320 Crashed
- Another A320 Scare On Pakistan International Airlines
- Report: Careless Pilots Blamed For PIA A320 Crash
- It’s Time To Blacklist Pakistan International Airlines…
- Exclusive: A “Fake” Pilot From Pakistan International Airlines Speaks Out
- European Union Bans Pakistan International Airlines – Is Canada Next?
- Pakistani Pilot Probe Spreads To United Arab Emirates
image: Aero Pixels / Wikimedia Commons