UAE-Philippines flights: Despite eased rules, high airfares still a worry for expats

'No quarantine but the ticket is too expensive'


Kirstin Bernabe

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Reuters file
Reuters file

Published: Fri 12 Nov 2021, 9:24 PM

Last updated: Fri 12 Nov 2021, 9:35 PM

Filipino expats in the UAE-- many of whom haven’t seen their families for over two years -- were overjoyed now that they can finally go home without having to spend days in quarantine.

To some, however, the good news came with a caveat: Airfares are still too high.

Marvin, a Netizen who commented on Khaleej Times' Facebook post, said in Filipino: "No quarantine but the ticket is too expensive."

Facebook user Sarah Jasmin Camarillo Rahul agreed: "The fare is too expensive, especially for Abu Dhabi-Manila flights. Some even offer only business class seats."

Malou Prado, CEO and owner of MPQ Tourism, said one-way tickets cost around Dh4,700 and while roundtrips ranged from Dh6,000 to Dh6,200.

“Airlines are yet to resume daily flights. At the moment, trips are scheduled and certain capacity limits are still being implemented. Considering this scenario, the supply is not enough to meet the strong demand; hence, flight tickets are still expensive,” Prado said.

Before the pandemic, Philippine ticket rates at this time of the year would stand at just Dh1,800, going up to Dh4,000 as Christmas nears, she added.

“With the green-list development, we are hoping that airfares would stabilise soon. We are also grateful for this update because this would help our travel business bounce back stronger from the impact of the pandemic,” Prado said.

Other expats, however, have already booked their tickets, excited to have "a merry Christmas" with their families.

“I can’t wait to finally spend Christmas with my family. I’m really thankful that we no longer have to spend time in quarantine because, as you know, every time we go home, every single day counts,” said Joman Mercado, an engineer in Dubai, who last saw his family in August 2019. He is travelling on December 7.


Jeffrey Gaddi, another expat in Dubai, said he was grateful that the rules were eased just before his flight on November 29. “I’m coming home to celebrate my daughter’s 18th birthday on December 7, as well as Christmas and New Year,” he said.


For those going home for good, the relaxed restrictions were also a big help.

“I’m really thankful. If this green-list development didn’t happen, I would have had to spend more money on quarantine. Not everyone who worked abroad can afford it. I just want to finally be with my family. Thank God for this announcement,” said Tanya Bona, a Filipino expat in Abu Dhabi who is travelling home in January on a one-way ticket.

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