UAE residents plan vacations despite airfare hike

airfare, Eid Al Adha, Eid holidays, summer vacation

Dubai - The long Eid Al Adha holiday is only four days away.


Sandhya D'Mello

Published: Mon 5 Aug 2019, 6:33 PM

UAE residents are labelled as last-minute planners, and they are okay with shelling out a few extra bucks if it means flying home for a short break or a mini-vacation to a nearby country.

The long Eid Al Adha holiday is only four days away, and the ongoing summer vacations are only adding to the spike in airfares.
"Rates have soared massively at least by 100 to 200 per cent when compared to non-peak rates during the Eid Holidays. No reduction was found despite heavy rainfall in cities like Mumbai. Holiday destinations such as Moscow, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan rates were comparatively lower than the rates to hometown," said Lakshmi Anand, operations manager, International Travel Services, Galadari Group.
"The UAE residents have opted for other tourist destinations when compared rates to their home town such as Mumbai, Karachi, Islamabad etc. as these holidays were competitive since they were pre-booked by the travel agencies a year ago and fortunately the holiday packages are sold out completely," added Anand.

Dubai resident Videsh Jain, who travelled to Mumbai for a vacation, said: "Family time supersedes everything. Hence, no matter what the price is we go home as this is the only time when everyone comes together. You surely need to watch out for the airfares during peak time. I am yet to recover from the mounting bills."

Hemali Shah, managing director of City One Tourism and Travel, said: "Good times for airlines. They had more reasons to increase the airfare this year. With Eid Al Adha and summer being at the same time, the airfares surged almost 1.3 times higher than what they were last year. In July 2018, the airfares to India were only Dh1,500, higher than the usual regular airfare. However, this year, the fares went all the way up to Dh2,300, 3-4 times higher than the regular fare."

Travel agents are surely keeping a close watch as airfares have been spiralling. Manvendra Naha Roy, head of online supply at HolidayME, said: "Fares for this specific weekend are definitely trending 40-50 per cent more than pre- and post-Eid levels. This year not only the sub-continent destinations but short-haul holiday destinations are either sold out or expensive compared to the regular period. Most of these destinations are in the range of Dh3,000-4,000 while post-Eid they should come down by 40-50 per cent. Given the reduced capacity in the market for India, most airlines must be sitting at high load factors. Hence, there is a chance of prices going further up in the next couple of days."

Another Dubai resident, Pratik Ashwin Shah, a banker who travels frequently, says the spike in airfare this year has actually hit his travel plans and he is forced to check local options. Most families are bearing the hike while compromising on the budget, he says.

Endorsing similar views, Himanshu Sampat, UAE business head, Cox & Kings Tours, said: "Travellers generally take two type of breaks during this period. There is the annual break clubbed with Eid holidays when people travel to their home countries, and then there are the short breaks. The UAE travellers are last-moment planners and those who have planned late would have paid at least 20 per cent more than the actual price on holiday packages from operators who had pre-bought inventory. The average Georgia flight which was costing Dh1,200 is now costing Dh2,200. The fare to India which was costing Dh1,000 is costing Dh2,500 (return fare). Price of flights to few parts of Europe and the price of a flight to India is at par.

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