Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Air fares from India to Dubai pinch travelers as airlines cash in on return-rush

Mangaluru: It’s not the best time for air travel, unless warranted, with the airlines trying to recoup their losses, especially to the Middle East.

Even after a month after UAE allowed expatriates to return to the place of work, the airfares are not showing any signs of relenting.

For the next 75 days, the fares are 150% higher one way for a layover flight and in excess of Rs 200% for a direct flight from all airports in India to Dubai and Sharjah, the main ports of entry into the UAE.

Interestingly, earlier the Dubai – Mangaluru fares were showing this trend of higher prices as expatriates used to return home for the holiday season.

Those fares are now half of what they used to be with none of the expatriates taking a risk to visit India due to the volatile pandemic situation. But that trend is also changing with airlines booking full flights and the Dubai-India fares are also on the rise.

An airline source told TOI that the airfares will not go back to pre-pandemic levels in the near future or for at least the coming three months.

"The airlines have suffered the worst and they are trying to make good their losses by keeping fares at 2X times the pre-pandemic levels," the source added.

Consider this, a Mangaluru-Dubai fare during the pre-pandemic lean months of November till December first week used to be sub 10,000.

Now they are in the range of Rs 21,000 to 25,000, 250% the re-pandemic levels till travel up to January 9.

A trip to Dubai from Bengaluru is also not cheap and the fares are above Rs 20,000 till January 10.

From Mumbai to Dubai it is in excess of Rs 17,000. Even from New Delhi it is above 10,000 to Rs 12,000. All these lower fares are for layover flights and the direct flights cost a passenger another few thousands more.

18/10/21 Stanley Pinto/Times of India

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