Monday, April 26, 2021

UAE-India flights: Expats delay travel plans by months amid Covid surge; air fares rise

Abu Dhabi: Many expats are putting their India plans on hold over fears that the 10-day India-UAE flight suspension may be extended, travel agents told Khaleej Times

An official at Abu Dhabi office of Arabian Travel Agency, the general sales agent for Air India Express, said many are pushing forward their trips by one to four months.

“There is an apprehension that the suspension may be extended, so people are rescheduling their bookings. One passenger postponed his travel from this Thursday to September.

The bare minimum that any person is extending travel from here is by a month. But people are also flying from here. Since our reservation system is down, we can’t provide details, but many people are travelling and there are many cancellations,” he said.

Amid a deepening Covid-19 crisis in India, some expats are, however, braving odds to somehow fly and tend to their ailing loved ones. And despite a dip in demand for tickets and uncertainty over extension of travel restrictions, airfares from the UAE to Indian destinations have increased to offset loss in revenue because of empty returning flights, travel agents said.

A normal Abu Dhabi-Kochi flight ticket costing Dh550-Dh600 is now going for Dh800, the ATA official said, adding that rise in airfare is also a common trend during Ramadan and before Eid holidays. “As flights are returning empty from Indian sectors, we cannot slash fares of air tickets as it will lead to a total loss in revenue,” he added.

26/04/21 Ashwani Kumar/Khaleej Times

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