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UAE flights: Airfares shoot up by 30% as rapid Covid PCR test rule is scrapped

Covid rules have been eased for travellers from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka



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Dhanusha Gokulan

Published: Thu 24 Feb 2022, 4:21 PM

Last updated: Thu 24 Feb 2022, 5:09 PM

Travel confidence has peaked a day after the UAE eased restrictions for flyers from the subcontinent.

The authorities have scrapped rapid PCR test requirement for UAE-bound passengers from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.

Since it was announced on Tuesday, airfares have shot up by 20 to 30 per cent. Return ticket prices from destinations such as Mumbai, Delhi and Kochi soared to Dh800 and above against Dh600 earlier.

Aviation experts said easing of travel rules could ‘greatly improve’ UAE tourism, as many would come to visit Expo 2020 which ends on March 31.

“School terms are also ending very soon. It is the right time for families to travel home for a short holiday, ahead of the start of the new school term. These relaxed regulations could not have come at a better time,” a top official of a private Indian airline official told Khaleej Times.

Rashid Abbas, managing director of Arooha Travels, confirmed that ticket prices have jumped by a marginal amount because of the increasing travel interest. At the moment, the rise in demand is highest among those who wish to visit India on a short trip, Abbas said.

“For families, the highest enquiries are in the months of April and May, when schools are set to close for a short vacation. We are expecting demand to increase at that time,” he said, adding that more Indian tourists are also looking at flying to the UAE.

A similar spike in demand is observed from other subcontinent countries, including Pakistan, Nepal and Sri Lanka.

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Afi Ahmed, managing director of Smart Travels, said: “Fear is no longer in the minds of travellers. There is high confidence among those wishing to travel. Earlier, when one member of a family would test positive for Coronavirus at the airport, the entire family would have to undergo quarantine. Now that’s not the case.”

He added: “The wait is now for India to add the UAE to its list of countries that enjoy a reciprocal relationship in terms of vaccines taken. Once that happens, we are expecting a flurry of travellers to make a trip.”

The experts are expecting the peak of demand to begin on March 31, during Ramadan and Eid Al Fitr.


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