LAHORE  - PIA has once again increased the Umrah fare up to Rs 6,000-7000, sources in the national flag carrier said on Tuesday.

The fare which was Rs 65,000, a couple of days ago, is now touching Rs. 71,000 to 72,000.

They said the fare was more than all other competitive airlines operating between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, including Saudi Airlines and Shaheen Airline. It is worth mentioning that PIA has introduced a scheme for business class passengers traveling from Lahore and Karachi to London and back wherein they can avail discount by buying two tickets and get a 40 per cent discount on the second ticket, said an officer of PIA seeking anonymity. The discounts were applicable on travel only from Lahore and Karachi to London - one way and return - on tickets purchased within Pakistan.

An Umrah pilgrim, Abdullah, said if airline could offer schemes on European destinations why not on sacred and holy journey of Saudi Arabia. When contacted, spokesman of PIA confirmed the news and said that Rs 5,000 was increased in the Umrah fare because of high demand on Pakistan - Jeddah route while Rs 2,000 had been increased on Pakistan-Madia sector. He said PIA had decreased its Umrah fare by Rs 7,000 last month also.