Monday, October 18, 2021

Air fares: Many unable to return to work abroad

Trichy: The number of people flying to foreign destinations for education, leisure and business has picked up in a big way, but the hike in air fares driven by this demand has put a large number of workers in trouble. Many who have got calls to rejoin work are forced to shell out Rs 16,000 to Rs 40,000 one-way and also quarantine costs running into lakhs once they land in UAE, Qatar or other countries in the Middle East.

A good number of people hailing from areas in central and southern parts of the state work as labourers in the Middle East. About 2.14 lakh passengers working abroad have arrived via Trichy airport, but only 10% to 20% are able to go back to join duty, say travel agents. Workers who tried to go back in August and September have found that the fare was about 50% more than pre-Covid days. “The total cost will cross Rs 1 lakh to Rs 1.20 lakh when quarantine charges are also added,” said a passenger.

According to the present schedule from Trichy, the fare ranges from Rs 16,000 to Rs 17,700 to Sharjah, Rs 21,000 to Rs 29,700 to Dubai, Rs 46,000 to Muscat. The fares are higher from Chennai because the number of transit travellers, especially students, who fly via UAE to Europe and the UK is high. Air India Express and IndiGo operate 31 flights to the Middle East in a week from Trichy under Vande Bharat Mission and air bubble agreements. There are around 20 flights in a week from Chennai to destinations in the Middle East. S Bhaskar of Travel Agents Federation of India (TAFI) said that the fare is higher than the usual price because of fewer flights.

18/10/21 D Vincent Arockiaraj/Times of India

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