UAE flights: Airfares double as demand for travel soars
DUBAI: With all categories of visa holders and stranded residents being allowed to fly into the UAE, airfares have shot up by at least 100 per cent, Khaleej Times reported.
The ticket prices, especially from the Subcontinent to the UAE, has soared ever since the authorities announced the resumption of visit visas to the Covid-vaccinated tourists from August 30.
Further, the Dubai-bound travellers are not required to show their vaccination records before entering the country, according to the airlines.
The two recent announcements from the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship (ICA) and the National Emergency Crisis and Disasters Management Authority (NCEMA) have caused a steep rise in the air tickets and hotel stay costs, especially in Dubai, travel agents and hotel owners said.
A 100 per cent hike in prices
Malik Bedekar, operations manager of Smart Travels, said: “[The] demand and air ticket prices have soared for [the] travellers from the entire Subcontinent. Airfares from India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Nepal have gone up by at least 100 per cent.”
“There is a very high demand for the travellers from Bangladesh; however, the SOPs for the travellers and tourist visa holders from the South Asian country is still unclear. Once airlines clarify these rules, I predict airfares should go up again,” Badekar said.
From India, the highest rates are seen in the Kerala sector, where one-way tickets are averaging at Dh1,000 to Dh2,400, depending on the airline and the time of travel. These rates are for travel on September 3.
“Some airlines are offering passengers special fares. Go Air is selling special tickets to the passengers travelling from Kochi and Kannur. These tickets are priced at Dh750 to Dh800,” he added.
After Kerala, the second-highest prices are from Mumbai closely followed by Delhi.
“From Pakistan, Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad are all peak sectors, especially since the rapid test problem has been resolved. Currently, the demand is very high; however, it should be regularised within a week or two,” Badekar said.
Social media gets 2,000 messages
Agents have said they receive an average of 2,000 messages on social media platforms, such as Facebook, seeking clarity regarding the flight tickets. According to Badekar, one of the major problems’ the passengers face is that the airlines don’t have a unified SOPs, making it confusing for those wishing to travel.
Malik Naseer, operations manager at Cozmo Travels, said: “Since the two announcements from [the] UAE authorities, prices for air travel out of the Subcontinent has been very high. A majority of those interested to travel are job seekers. The high prices may discourage them from travelling at the moment because they may not be able to afford it.”
However, Naseer said that the market trends are looking extremely positive. “The load factor with the airlines are also very good. All the flights are returning to the UAE full of passengers. It is also a good sign for [the] future bookings.”
Opportunities amid Expo 2020
For job seekers, the opportunities they may be able to find in Expo 2020 is one of the primary reasons for high interest in travel.
Rashid Abbas, the managing director of Arooha Travels, said: “[The] demand for travel into Dubai is the highest in comparison to airports in the other Emirates. The rules are flexible and people who suffered unemployment from April-July want to come here and try their chances.” Abbas also said the demand for visit visas are very high. “We are applying for at least 500 visit visas every day,” he added.
Sudheesh TP, the general manager of Deira Tours and Travels, said: “Room prices for hotels in Dubai have also increased; however, not substantially. I suspect the rates may go higher in the coming days. [The] UAE is being seen as a land of opportunities and excitement. [The] travellers are viewing the country as a safe haven against [the] Covid-19, as well.”
“Tour operators from India are launching attractive packages for tourists from India, especially since they have been out of business since March 2020,” he added.
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