Tuesday, November 23, 2021

UAE-India travel: Airlines push Sharjah, RAK flights with ticket rates under Dh1,000

Dubai: Flights to Sharjah and Ras Al Khaimah are providing the low-cost option for Indians wanting to fly into the UAE.

While a one-way ticket from the south Indian city of Kochi to Dubai costs between Dh1,000 to Dh2,000 this weekend, a flight from Kochi to Sharjah is available at around Dh800, with a return flight dropping even lower to Dh490.

A travel agent said that the lower rates to Sharjah and Ras Al Khaimah is due to the lower landing and ground handling costs at the airports. “When you compare Abu Dhabi and Sharjah, there’s a big difference (in terms of flight ticket prices),” said Suraj Ramesh from Al Badie Travel Agency. He also said that the introduction of more flights from Abu Dhabi to India will make the emirate more competitive in terms of fares.

Recently, Air Arabia Abu Dhabi announced the launch of flights to Kerala – with introductory rates of under Dh600 - and New Delhi, and there are indications that Wizz Air Abu Dhabi, UAE’s newest airline, will also join in.

The joint venture between Abu Dhabi’s ADQ and Hungary’s Wizz Air plans to add the A321XLR aircraft to its fleet, which would allow the carrier to fly to destinations in India and Africa.

“The crew can operate at a five-hour distance from Abu Dhabi and come back again the same day,” said Kees Van Schaick, Managing Director of Wizz Air. With the XLR, “that number will become seven hours and we’ll be able to reach Western Europe, Africa and the Indian Subcontinent.”

With these new routes, Abu Dhabi’s low-cost carriers are drawing more traffic directly towards the emirate. “A significant amount of labor movement from Abu Dhabi is currently flying from Dubai and Sharjah,” said Ramesh.

“Traffic on the India-UAE route has traditionally been higher during the year-end season and we have been observing some improvement in demand this year too,” said Vinod Kannan, Chief Commercial Officer at Vistara.

More Indian carriers are increasing the frequency of services to Sharjah. Vistara, a joint venture between India’s Tata Sons and Singapore Airlines, raised the frequency of its Delhi-Sharjah flights to five times a week from three earlier. The airline now operates four weekly flights from Mumbai to Sharjah, up from three.

23/11/21 John Benny/Gulf News

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