Tuesday, August 15, 2023

In Onam norm, airfares to Europe, Gulf hit festive high

Kochi: Burning a big hole in passengers’ pockets, airlines have hiked their fares to various Gulf destinations, with ticket prices going up from Rs 30,000 to as high as Rs 1 lakh in economy class this holiday season. Travellers to Europe have been similarly impacted. Ticket prices to Dubai during the off-season average around Rs 10,000 (one-way) from Kochi, Rs 11,000 from Thiruvananthapuram, and Rs 11,500 from Kozhikode, which has increased to Rs 35,000, Rs 40,000, and Rs 36,000, respectively, this festive season, travel agents said.

“August–September is peak travel season. Airlines such as Etihad, Qatar and Emirates charge exorbitant fares, starting at Rs 70,000 and going up to Rs 1 lakh for economy. On the other hand, ticket rates of Indian airline companies, such as Air India and IndiGo start at Rs 30,000–Rs 35,000,” said Nithin Luke, branch manager and tour operations head of Riya Travels.

Interestingly, inbound fares from the Gulf sector remain unchanged. “The price of a ticket from Dubai to Kochi stays between Rs 8,000 and Rs 10,000, even during Onam week,” said Nithin.

Industry officials said expatriates returning to Gulf countries from Kerala opt for connecting flights to save money. “During the off-season, ticket prices range between Rs 8,000 and Rs 10,000 per person. But during peak season (July to September), fares range from Rs 32,000 to Rs 35,000. The only way to travel budget-friendly is to book tickets with connecting flights,” said Vineeth Nair, who is travelling to Dubai this week with his wife and son. “I saved around Rs 30,000 on tickets by opting for a one-stop layover flight from Kochi,” he added.

Apart from the festive season, August–September is also the period of student intake in European countries, as well as Australia, and Canada. “A huge number of students travel to European countries during this period, and airlines see this as an opportunity. On average, the base fare to Toronto, Canada, which comes in at around Rs 70,000 during the off-season, has now shot up to Rs 2 lakh,” said Nithin.

15/08/2023  Aishwarya Prabhakaran/New Indian Express

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