UAE to India, Pakistan travel: Airfares double ahead of winter holidays

Travel industry executives say prices for December have doubled due to high demand and fewer flights



Photo: File
Photo: File
by

Waheed Abbas

Published: Wed 10 Nov 2021, 11:14 AM

Last updated: Wed 10 Nov 2021, 12:21 PM

Airfares from Dubai to the Indian Subcontinent have almost doubled for December due to a large number of residents travelling for school holidays as well strong inflow of passengers for mega events such as Expo 2020 and Dubai Shopping Festival.

Travel industry executives believe that airfares to the ever-busy Indian Subcontinent routes will remain high over the coming few months due to strong inbound traffic from the region and fewer flights after the air bubble agreements.

“Many Asian residents couldn’t go to their home countries on vacations during July, so they are bringing their family members here because the climate is getting better.

"Inbound one-way fare is very high from India and Pakistan to Dubai. Secondly, group visits by corporates have also started to Dubai. People were initially hesitant in October, but now the movement is increasing and corporate customers from India and Pakistan are sending their employees and partners to Dubai. Because of all these factors, prices are on the higher side,” said Raheesh Babu, chief operations officer at Musafir.com.

He said that airfares on certain Indian sectors have almost doubled from Dh1,200-1,300 to over Dh2,300 for December as schools are closing and many families flying back to their home country and returning to UAE after Christmas and New Year holidays.

Babu revealed that Saudi repatriation is also happening through UAE and people are coming to Dubai for a 14-day quarantine before resuming their journey to the Kingdom.

Raja Mir Wasim, manager for MICE and holidays at International Travel Services (ITS), said airlines have not fully started their commercial operations yet because air bubble agreements are still in place with countries.

“It’s a demand and supply factor. On the one hand, airlines are not flying to their 100 per cent capacity. On the other hand, many residents did not travel to their home countries after the pandemic. So travel demand is rising gradually but the seating capacity is still low due to air bubble agreements,” he said.

Travel industry executives claim that many flights are already sold out for December amidst strong demand and shortage of flights.

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“Yes, December calendar is very busy because many people will be visiting UAE for Expo and Dubai Shopping Festival and many residents are travelling to their home countries. Plus, winter is the peak season for tourism in the country. Hence, these are the reasons for the surge in airfares,” Wasim said, adding that airfares could stay high over the next few months.

Mamoun Hmedan, chief commercial officer and managing director for Mena and India, Wego, also blamed strong demand and lower seat capacity at which airlines are operating for high airfares on the Indian Subcontinent routes.

He said India is a key market for the Mena population and always tops the searches from this region and if more airlines fly at full capacity around December, then airfares could drop gradually.

Ajay Boyanis, head of business travel and global alliances at ITL World, noted that October to March is generally a peak season for the UAE travel industry and Expo 2020, ICC T20 World Cup and the Indian Premier League further complemented the demand.

“India has not yet started its international operations and continues to operate with very limited capacity under air bubble agreement which resulted in an increase in airfares. Pakistan also had similar restrictions which will be lifted in November and would operate flights with full capacity,” he said.

Boyanis expects fares will remain high until Expo 2020 unless airlines expand their capacity.

-waheedabbas@khaleejtimes.com


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