It might surprise you to hear that on every ticket you book, around half of the amount is tax. So if you’re booking a Karachi-Islamabad flight and it costs Rs 6,500, around Rs 3,250 goes to the airliner while the other half is just tax amount.
In the case of Pakistan, and our national airline PIA, the air fare mostly consists of fixed taxes applicable to each and every local or international flight.
What is shocking is that these taxes contribute to almost half of the air ticket you pay for. In the case of PIA, which has reduced local flight charges, taxed amount can even reach higher than 50% in some cases.
To give you a general idea of how an air ticket fare is calculated with regards to most Pakistani airlines, here’s the break down of taxes and charges applicable on each and every local flight:
- Security Charge – PKR 100.00
- Government Airport Tax – PKR 20.00
- Embarkation Fee Pakistan – PKR 500.00
- Excise Duty Pakistan – PKR 2,500.00
- Advance Tax – PKR 390.00 (about 4% depending on flight)
- Total Charge – PKR 3,510
This excessive taxation starts to make less sense when you consider that air travel is not a luxury, at least not in Pakistan. For many people, whether it’s business or personal matters, it’s a necessity. And then there’s the fact that you can get better services on buses these days and still end up paying less.
Now consider this, sometimes local flights cost as little as Rs. 6,000 for a one-way trip and each passenger, whether traveling via a private airline or PIA, ends up paying that much for an Economy Class trip which lacks any luxurious services.
These charges start at Rs. 1,500 to and go all the way up to Rs. 10,000.
People traveling from or to distant places across the country out of necessity are forced to pay these taxes regardless of their social or financial status.
If you travel in luxury e.g. First Class, Economy Plus, Business Class, etc. you end up paying higher fixed taxes regardless of the distance you are traveling.
The issue isn’t limited to local flights. Even when traveling abroad, 30%-45% of your travel cost is just tax or CAA fees. This isn’t commonplace either as regionally, Pakistan is among the most expensive places from which you can travel. Compared to Dubai and Sri Lanka, Pakistan charges up to 150% more airfare taxes.
Charging such a high amount of taxes on all flights makes little sense. To top it off, almost all of these charges are fixed and will still apply even if you are traveling short distances.
While such tactics make sense in Europe’s case, given their higher (and better) standard of service and economic stability, they make little sense for a country like Pakistan.
Air travel is already is limited to a certain class and the excess of taxes make sure that it isn’t affordable for the local commuters who want to reach their destinations on an urgent basis.
Considering the state of air travel and the diminishing revenues, the government should consider reducing these taxes for the relief of the people and to promote the aviation industry in the country.