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UAE flights: Airfares from India, Pakistan soar as residents return after Eid holidays

Ticket prices from popular cities, such as Kochi, Mumbai, Chennai and Kozhikode, have hit Dh3,000



by

Dhanusha Gokulan

Published: Sat 7 May 2022, 9:42 PM

Last updated: Sat 7 May 2022, 10:12 PM

Return airfares from South Asian destinations such as India and Pakistan to the UAE have soared as expatriates who travelled for the long Eid holidays return home.

Outbound travel was strong for the holidays, which began on April 30 for the public sector and several private-sector workers. The easing of pre-travel Covid restrictions was one of the main reasons expatriates chose outbound destinations this year.

However, as expatriates and travellers make their return journeys, one-way ticket prices from certain destinations in countries such as India and Pakistan have risen to Dh1,500 minimum on budget carriers. On premium carriers, fares have shot up to Dh2,500 and above.

Prices tend to remain high in these months extending to the July-September school summer holidays. Return ticket prices from popular Indian cities, such as Kochi, Mumbai, Chennai, and Kozhikode have hit Dh3,000, while fares to Karachi during the summer holidays have hit Dh1,755, and a one-way ticket from Karachi for May 8-9 is priced between Dh725 to Dh979.

“The ticket prices taper down to less than Dh600 only during the third week of May. After that, they remain sky-high until September,” explained Malik Badekar, operations manager at Smart Travels Dubai.

Travel agents have also said many families with plans to travel during the summer holidays booked their tickets as early as January to avoid the price peak.

“It was predicted that the ticket prices would skyrocket this summer. It is the first time since the pandemic that vaccinated people can travel without any pre-travel tests,” said Badekar. Many families who have yet to book their tickets are even considering putting their travel plans on hold as the prices are too high. “For a family of four, we would have to pay Dh7,000 at least, which is unaffordable for regular families such as ours,” said Damodaran Thekkiiveetil, a Sharjah resident.

He said: “I have a wife and two kids. My wife does not work, and we haven’t been to our hometown in Kerala for three years now due to Covid. I was hoping to go during the Eid holidays; unfortunately, the ticket prices were very high. Next year we will try and book the tickets in January or February so we can travel during the summer.”

Dubai International Airport (DXB) has estimated that around 1.9 million people would pass through the main airport between April 29 and May 9. The average daily traffic during the period was forecast to exceed 177,000 passengers. The busiest day was expected to be May 7, with passenger numbers on the day anticipated to hit the 200,000 mark.

Raheesh Babu, group COO of Musafir.com, told Khaleej Times: “Many people travelled during the Eid holidays. Over the next two to three days, all of those travellers are on their way back home. Apart from leisure travel, business travel is also on the rise. Obviously, prices have gone up.

“School summer holidays are only two months away. Prices show no signs of slipping except for the last week of May or the first week of June. I expect this trend to continue up to September.”

Commenting on the upcoming summer travel, Babu said: “Tickets to the Kerala sector have already hit Dh3,000. The situation is similar for international holiday destinations.”

Moreover, Babu said expectations are very high for the upcoming Arabian Travel Market, one of the biggest tourism trade shows in the region. “Visitor volumes would be very high for ATM. This is indeed a sign of industry recovery. Unfortunately, the air ticket prices are high,” he explained.

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Sajeev Joseph, managing director of Holidays Tours, a Sharjah-based travel agency, said: “Ticket fares are presently very high, not just to Indian sectors, but also destinations such as Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Serbia, and other Eastern European holiday destinations. There is a kind of revenge tourism happening; people are thirsty to travel to just about anywhere.”

“We see very good outbound travel trends to African countries such as Nigeria and Ghana. Inbound travel is also good, especially from India. Business travel is on the rise; we are preparing for ATM in a big way this year,” said Joseph.


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