India-UAE travel: Airfares set to rise as expats return from vacations

Travel agents are reporting a steep rise in demand



AFP
AFP
by

Dhanusha Gokulan

Published: Sat 6 Aug 2022, 12:03 AM

Last updated: Sat 6 Aug 2022, 12:05 AM

Airfares from various cities in India to the UAE are expected to rise upwards of 45 to 50 per cent this month as expatriates return home after the summer vacations.

Travel agents are reporting a steep rise in demand for air tickets from South Indian sectors such as Kochi, Kozhikode, Chennai and Bengaluru. Travel agents said that the demand for tickets from Mumbai and Delhi to the UAE is also rising.

As business travel is also set to resume after the summer holidays, demand and ticket prices will rise dramatically after August 15, they added.

Raheesh Babu, group chief operating officer of online travel platform Musafir.com, explained: “The prices of one-way tickets from various sectors across India into the UAE will witness an increase of 45 to 50 per cent after August 15.”

“One-way ticket prices from the Kerala sector destinations and Mumbai is averaging at Dh1,200 before August 15. However, prices are skyrocketing between August 15 and 30. They are averaging at between Dh1,300 and Dh1,900.”

Babu added that while the traffic tends to historically peak during this time of the year, this year has witnessed record travel numbers to India.

“This is the first year where Indian expatriates could travel to Indian cities without any Covid-related restrictions since March 2020. A majority of travellers were people who went to India after a gap of two years,” explained Babu.

Several other travel agents are also reporting similar trends.

Afi Ahmed, managing director of Smart Travels, also said that prices from India to several GCC destinations during this time of the year have been high for several years. “Many families, especially those with school-going children, have no other choice except to return from vacations as they have to come back in time for school re-opening,” Ahmed said.

Schools closed for the summer holidays in July, so a travel agency organised charter flights from UAE to Kerala to combat the high prices. Dubai-based travel agency Equator Travel Management LLC organised a one-way charter flight to a popular Kerala destination on Air India Express for prices as low as Dh1,090.

However, these offers are few and far between, as most Indian and regional airlines are restricted by bilateral agreements between both countries, making it challenging to ramp up operations to meet the high demand.

Air India is planning to start thrice-weekly flights from Dubai to Kolkata only by winter, said the airline’s regional manager. “Bilaterals restrict us (and) hence we have to play around with current entitlements only,” he said.

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