RE - The PIA has completed its Haj operation with the worst ever punctuality record during post-Haj operation which, according to independent analysts, is 17 per cent while the PIA claims it about 100 per cent.
Delay in return of 80 per cent of the post-Haj flights range from 2-10 hours which is attributed to poor planning of the PIA, as the airline made slot allocations much later than other airlines which resulted in inadequate provision of checking counters, departure lounges capacity, sources in the airline claimed.
They said during the past post-Haj operation regularity and punctuality had been ranging from 60 to 85 per cent. During the present Haj operation, Air India which carried a comparable number of Hajis had 67.6 per cent Haj flight punctuality while Turk Hava Yollari, the national airline of Turkey, had 89 per cent post-Haj punctuality. Egypt air and Emirates post-Haj operation had a punctuality of 78 and 79 per cent respectively, the sources maintained.
The PIA failure started on post-Haj operation with the flight departing late from Pakistan which further delayed at Jeddah.
This year the PIA had calculated the fare structure for Haj operation at dollar 120 per barrel while the price of fuel available was in the range of dollar 45 to 36 per barrel. Resultantly, every Pakistani was charged Rs 18,000 to 20,000.
When the Haj operation started, the fuel was available at less than 75 dollar per barrel. The airline had also promised the Hajis that they would be provided with Abe Zam Zam on their arrival which this airline had previously promised in 2004 when Chairman PIA Ch Ahmed Saeed had appointed a pilot as director airport services, presently working as the chief executive of the PIA. The same mistake has been repeated this time because the Haj operation arrangements were negotiated and finalised by the MD and his GM Airport Services.
The Hajis were further disturbed when the PIA instead of bringing Hajis to Peshawar, Lahore, Islamabad on direct flights, brought a good number of them to Karachi where they remained stranded for more than 24 hours due to closure of airports and dense fog at northern airports.
When contacted, the PIA spokesman said during the PIA's post-Haj operation the flights' punctuality and regularity rate remained almost 100 per cent and its pre-Haj operation was completed with 100 per cent punctuality rate.
He was of the view that the present Haj operation remained successful as this year the PIA completed the operation with its own fleet and no plane was hired on lease from any company. He claimed that only certain flights were delayed during the post-Haj operation because the baggage scanning machines were out of order at the Jeddah airport.