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There are some good ticket rates to be had from Dubai to all the main cities in India. The next big push on fares would likely be early December - but there is also the potential rise in demand as the FIFA World Cup starts November 20. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: Airfares on the UAE-India sector are taking an immediate dip after the Diwali peaks, and look set to remain at these levels until second-half of November or early December. For travel after November 11, return airfares on high frequency routes such as Dubai to Mumbai, Kochi, Kozhikode, Chennai, and Bengaluru are averaging Dh600-Dh800, according to travel aggregator Sky Scanner.

One-way fares to the south Indian city of Kochi are at around Dh300 until November 30, which is among the lowest the route has seen since the post-pandemic travel blitz, explained Sudheesh T. P., General Manager of Deira Travel and Tourist Agency. However, ticket prices for UAE-bound flights average Dh550 from most Indian cities as winter festivities in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah ready for launch in the coming weeks. (This year, there is the added incentive of the FIFA World Cup in Doha, and with stays in the UAE.)

“Most carriers - UAE and Indian - are offering discounts and privileges to attract fliers,” said Sudheesh. “November is considered off-peak, and only when schools close for winter break in December will prices shoot up.”

New flights from Air India

Airfares on Dubai–Mumbai are averaging between Dh803 to Dh917 up to November 29. An Economy class ticket from Abu Dhabi to Mumbai or Kochi could cost Dh780-Dh800.

Airfares to and from Delhi average Dh919, while on those from Abu Dhabi to Chennai could be Dh890-Dh918. Similar prices are also witnessed from Sharjah and Ras Al Khaimah airports.

To meet the rising demand from the UAE, India’s recently privatized flag carrier Air India launched two new flights – Dubai to Kannur in Kerala and Sharjah to Vijayawada in Andhra Pradesh.

P.P. Singh, Regional Manager of Gulf, Middle East, and Africa at Air India and Air India Express (AIE), said the airline’s new flights to Kannur from Dubai will begin October 30. “We will operate four flights a week from Dubai to Kannur at an affordable launch fare of Dh300. The flights will operate every Monday, Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday.”

The Sharjah to Vijayawada flights will operate Mondays and Saturdays. “Tickets are priced at Dh399, and customers can avail of an additional 5kg extra baggage for that price as well,” said Singh.

He also said that demand from the region into India is expected to pick up once the winter holidays kick in. “We’re witnessing a slight lull post-Diwali. However, we had perfect rush days ahead of the festival of lights.”

These factors point to a robust recovery for the aviation sector in the region. According to Airports Council International’s (ACI) latest forecast for 2022, Middle East airports are expected to serve 336 million passengers, representing an 82 per cent recovery compared to 2019 levels.

Since visa hassles remain an ongoing hassle to European countries, Indian expatriates in UAE are travelling back home to tourist hotspots such as Kashmir or Goa.

- Sudheesh T. P. of Deira Travel and Tourist Agency

UAE-bound tourist rush

Travel agents are also expecting a rush of passengers from across India as UAE gears up for winter festivities. Niyaz Adiraja, Operations Manager at Smart Travels “When you have low rates, people will take advantage of those prices. Moreover, even budget carriers are providing attractive baggage deals of 40kg to passengers travelling to India.”

“The price spike will be seen after the first week of December. Return fares will be expensive.”