STOCK Dubai airport
A time to travel - UAE residents are planning Eid breaks and the pre-bookings are running high. But airfares are on their way up too. Image Credit: Dubai Airport

Dubai: Travelling to high-demand destinations in India and Pakistan for the Eid break will not come cheap as airfares make a strong recovery.

“All destinations have become expensive now, especially during Eid,” said Subair Thekkepurath Valappil, Senior Manager - Outbound Operations at Regal Tours.

The UK sector is also showing the full force of demand as the holiday break in early May comes closer.

If travelling in the week before Eid, flights from Dubai to New Delhi can cost between Dh500-Dh1,000, and to Mumbai can be Dh1,270. The South Indian city of Kochi is easily the most expensive destination with most airlines charging well over Dh1,000. An Emirates flight on April 29 is listing seats at more than Dh3,300.

Pre-booking is back on and that means 70 per cent of seats are already taken by the time you look.

- Subair Thekkepurath Valappil of Regal Tours

Usual destinations aside, UAE’s residents are also keen to explore India’s tourist hubs. The ‘Golden Triangle’ – used by industry insiders to describe Delhi-Jaipur-Agra market travel packages – is in high demand, along with those to Goa. It is mostly Air India operating flights to Goa and tickets start from Dh1,000 for the last days of April.

The high fares on UAE-India sector are bound to continue, according to a spokesperson from Dubai Link Tours. “For this month, the average fare is about Dh720, but in May, there will be events like the Arabian Travel Market (ATM), which means demand for Dubai-bound seats will be high.” (The annual in-person event will take place from May 9-12 at the Dubai World Trade Centre.)

Pakistan fares

Flights from Dubai to Lahore cost between Dh700-Dh1,300, and those to Karachi at least Dh800, with some airlines charging around Dh1,800. A flight to the capital Islamabad is in the region of Dh1,400. The rise in fares is nominal compared to increases in the past when flight capacity was constrained due to COVID-19 restrictions. Fares to Lahore hit Dh6,000 ahead of last year’s Eid Al Adha break in July.

Emirates times its latest offer well
Emirates airline has launched a platform - Dubai Experience - that allows customers to book customised itineraries, including flights and hotel stay. Customers can choose from pre-curated itineraries if they are first-time visitors, or if they have specific interests in sports, culture, adventure, or entertainment and the arts.

Those using the platforms will achieve 10 per cent savings on their new Emirates flight bookings. Guests will also get exclusive hotel benefits including discounted rates, free cancellation up to 72 hours before check-in, complimentary breakfast, and 24-hour check-in at over 100 hotels.

Travel elsewhere

Many UAE residents are also heading for their favorite tourist destinations in Europe, especially since several countries have dropped all PCR testing requirements and require passengers to produce proof of full vaccination along with a passenger locator form. “Europe has been very competitive of late and a majority of the embassies do not have an appointment until the last week of May,” said Valappil. “But people have started travelling and that's good.”

The travel agent added that for those looking to enter EU, Greece and Czech Republic would be their best bet. Currently, a flight from Dubai to Paris can cost as much as Dh2,500. Amsterdam is even more pricey ahead of Eid, with most airlines charging Dh3,000 plus.

Even on routes where there are a number of services, such as Dubai-London, fares are higher than normal. A one-way ticket to London cost around Dh3,800, compared to Dh1,700-Dh2,2000 during less-demand periods.

Travel agents expect fares to finally dip by mid-September. As things stand now, airlines are seen charging little over Dh380 for a flight from Dubai to New Delhi on September 15. Karachi will cost passengers close to Dh600 and London fares will come down to about Dh1,600.

Wizz Air Abu Dhabi pushes a 20% cut
Wizz Air Abu Dhabi has announced 20 per cent off on select flights from and to Abu Dhabi until the end of August for bookings made on April 18-19. The airline aims to 'capitalise on the increasing demand for travel during Eid and provide its customers with exciting travel opportunities and experiences over the summer period and beyond.'

The budget airline recently added some destinations to its network by launching new routes to Salalah (Oman), Mattala (Sri Lanka), Amman (Jordan) and Aqaba (Jordan).

Travellers can plan their summer holiday and make this Eid memorable by treating themselves to a well-deserved vacation to one of our attractive destinations

- Michael Berlouis, Managing Director of Wizz Air Abu Dhabi