Ticket prices to Pakistan more than double since airspace closure

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Ticket prices to Pakistan more than double since airspace closure

Dubai - Travel agents attributed the price increase to flight backlogs that have to be cleared.


Asma Ali Zain

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Published: Thu 7 Mar 2019, 11:00 PM

Last updated: Sat 9 Mar 2019, 8:06 AM

Air ticket prices from Dubai to Lahore and Sialkot have more than doubled since Pakistan announced the closure of its airspace more than a week ago.
The fares show doubling of prices for the next couple of weeks. Travel agents said the reason was that the flights to these sectors were clearing a backlog of passengers who were stranded after Pakistan closed its airspace.
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Air routes from the Gulf region have since then been opened while Pakistan's Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) had issued a recent notice to airmen (NOTAM) announcing a restriction on use of its airspace until Thursday afternoon.
"The flights from Dubai to Lahore and Sialkot, the sectors that were affected most, have been going full since the airspace opened," a travel agent, on the condition of anonymity, said.
"There are hardly any seats available for the next couple of weeks and even those available are highly priced," he added.
Online bookings for major airlines from Dubai to Lahore and Sialkot were not available for immediate dates including March 10.
Return airfares for March 12 onwards showed an unusual increase in fares for the Lahore/Sialkot sectors.
Online booking for a return fare from Dubai to Lahore on Emirates was available for Dh2,394 which is almost double the usual fare ranging from Dh1,200 to 1400 on the same route.
A travel agent quoted a fare of Dh2,950 for the same route citing a lack of seat availability.
Return fare for Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) was Dh2,005, AirBlue Dh2,969 and Etihad at Dh2,535. Fares to Sialkot departing from mid-March also showed an unusual increase starting at Dh2,235.
Residents who had put their travel plans on hold said they now had to shell out much more than they had planned.
"I have to travel urgently for business but due to the airspace closure, I was not able to do so last week," said Mohammed Farrukh.
"I also did not buy the tickets in advance because I was not sure of the situation.now I have to pay more," he told Khaleej Times.
Similarly, Fariha Shah who plans to travel with her children to Lahore for the upcoming spring break by the end of March said, "The fares have gone through the roof. London is cheaper than Lahore."
"We are a family of four.it is impossible to pay so much. The travel agent has asked us to put off travel for another couple of weeks but by then the holidays will be over," she said.

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