August 13, 2022

Airfares rival those of European destinations

Air tickets from the United Arab Emirates to some airports in India cost as much as travel to European destinations and the city of London, Dubai-based travel agents have revealed.

Since schools in the United Arab Emirates closed for the summer holidays, dozens of expat families have left or are about to leave the country to spend the July and August holiday months in India. While many families booked their tickets months in advance, those who were considering booking tickets at the last minute are now reconsidering their return trips due to soaring prices.

Airfares from the Kerala sector are among the highest at the moment, travel agents and Indian expats have said.

No respite in prices

Airline ticket and hotel booking aggregators and search engines such as Sky Scanner and MakeMyTrip.com show prices for one-way airfares to Kochi in Kerala on July 3 at Dh1,554 to Dh2 287 Dh (all prices are for one- transport tickets).

Meanwhile, a direct flight from Dubai to Heathrow, which takes 7 hours and 45 minutes, costs Dh2,680. According to Afi Ahmed, Managing Director of Smart Travels, the cost of travel to Kerala is ironic as there are four international airports in the South Indian state. “Travel time to destinations in Kerala is no more than four hours and ten minutes,” he said.

“For example, the cheapest ticket to Delhi is around Dh1330 and the most expensive flight to Delhi is Dh1987. Yet Delhi is a connecting destination for many cities near the Indian capital that do not have regular flights, including Jammu and Kashmir and Haryana,” Ahmed explained.

“Many expats travel to Delhi and then take flights to neighboring states,” he added. However, Kerala has four international airports – Kochi, Thiruvananthapuram, Kannur and Kozhikode but the prices are so high, Ahmed said.

“It’s not that the volume of demand for flights to Kerala is the highest. It’s the same everywhere in India. Unfortunately, it’s been the case for decades,” he said. We will only see prices stabilize after mid-July. From then on, return ticket prices will increase,” he added.

Easing of restrictions boosts demand

Additionally, this is the first summer where travel has been relatively stress-free, as many Covid-19-induced restrictions, such as pre-trip testing, have been eased. “The demand for travel this summer is very high. Not just in India, but all over the world. There is a kind of trend of revenge travel,” he added. Moreover, with the upcoming Eid Al Adha holiday, the demand has further increased.

Community groups, business leaders, politicians and non-governmental organizations have repeatedly tried to call on civil aviation authorities to standardize summer prices.

Last week, an Indian politician from the state of Kerala wrote an ‘urgent’ letter of appeal to the Union Civil Aviation Minister to take urgent action on the ‘unprecedented’ rise in air fares of the Gulf region.

CPI(M) MP Rajya Sabha from Kerala, Dr V Sivadasan, wrote to Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia on June 25, asking the minister to oversee the sharp hike in air fares.

Sivadasan wrote, “Foreseeing the influx of passengers to come as the Gulf countries enter the summer holidays and the festive occasion of Bakrid (Eid Al Adha), airlines have drastically increased the flight costs of Gulf countries to India.

He said in the letter: “This unprecedented tariff hike is taking a heavy toll on the savings of Indian workers in the Gulf countries.”

“In view of the immense financial stress imposed by Covid-19 and the economic downturn, I request your kind intervention in this matter so that the Indian Diaspora, waiting to come to their homeland, are not defrauded by the airlines” , said Dr. Sivadasan. . He asked Scindia to step in and initiate urgent action.

Expats see no respite yet

TP Sudheesh, Managing Director of Deira Travel and Tourist Agency, said: “The irony is that both countries have many airlines operating in the sector. Traveling is not just a requirement for families. However, many of them with business and commercial connections also have to travel often.

He added: “At all costs, the two countries must improve the allocation of seats within the framework of the bilateral trade agreements. In this case, airlines operating between two countries used the maximum seat allocation.

Sudheesh said airlines set fares based on historical data and market trends. “School vacation months are announced by the education authorities months in advance. The airlines set the prices from this point on. As for the companies that offer travel allowances to their employees, they do not check the airfares before making the reservation. Even though the tickets cost 3000 Dh, they will pay for them because the employee’s vacation revolves around their child’s vacation. Not all families can afford to pay such prices,” explained Sudheesh.

Officers said civil aviation departments needed to look into the matter urgently. “If they don’t increase peak capacity, let them standardize ticket prices during peak seasonal times, so it’s easier for the common man,” he added.

Increased capacity to certain destinations

India’s flagship carrier, Air India, has increased its capacity in the Dubai-Delhi sector.

From now on, a total of 18 Boeing 787-8 Dreamliners and one narrow-body Airbus will operate between these two destinations; PP Singh, regional manager for the Gulf, Middle East and Africa for Air India and Air India Express, confirmed to Khaleej Times.

“Before Wednesday, only 14 Dreamliners were operating between the two sectors. Previously, we only had departures to Delhi in the evening and late evening. With the addition of these morning flights, we are seeing robust demand and bookings between these two destinations,” he explained.

Cheapest one-way ticket prices to various destinations on July 3

  • Kochi – 1,554 Dhs
  • New Delhi – 1,808 dirhams
  • Kozhikode – 1,637 Dh
  • Kannur – 1,720 Dhs
  • London – 2,080 dirhams
  • Paris – 2,940 dirhams
  • Bangkok – 2,452 dirhams
  • Mumbai – 1,630 Dhs
  • Bangalore – 1,550 Dhs
  • Karachi – 1,364 dirhams
  • Istanbul – 2,070 dirhams
  • Santorini – 1,165 Dhs
  • Tbilisi – 1,120 Dh
  • Belgrade – 1,471 dirhams
  • Milan – 2,790 dirhams
  • Munich – 2,380 dirhams

(Note: All prices are at time of printing and as available on aggregators’ websites. They do not include taxes and other costs.)

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