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Passengers at Jinnah International Airport in Karachi. The Dubai to Karachi route is seeing tickets as low as Dh832. Image Credit: AFP

Dubai: Airfares from the UAE to Pakistan have remained largely stable even as Eid Al Adha draws near, to be followed by peak summer travel, providing travellers with an encouraging outlook for their holiday plans.

The lowest non-stop round-trip tickets to Pakistan for travel on July 1 are available from Dh832 (Sharjah to Karachi on Air Arabia) to Dh 1,496 (Sharjah to Peshawar on Air Arabia), according to travel aggregator SkyScanner. Airlines are even offering a one-stop trip to tourism destination Sukkur for Dh1,605 (Dubai to Karachi to Sukkur on Pakistan International Airlines).

Two months ago (during Eid Al Fitr), airfares from Dubai to Karachi were Dh1,345 on flydubai and Dh1,785 on Emirates. That’s compared to an average of Dh1,235 on multiple airlines earlier this year.

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However, those seeking a last-minute holiday trips for the long Eid Al Adha weekend (Tuesday, June 27 until the end of the week) have to shell out anything between Dh2,504 (Dubai to Karachi on Air Blue) to Dh 4,181 (Dubai to Peshawar on PIA).

Mohammed Sufiyan of Mardan Travel LLC, said: “Fares during the Eid Al Adha travel period shoot up 15 to 30 per cent higher than the summertime airfares. However, after July 1, fares stabilise, and in some cases, tickets are available for the off-season rate of Dh800.”

UAE-Pakistan fare among lowest

Compared to ticket prices to other top travel destinations from the UAE, where airfares have already shot past the Dh3,500-Dh4,000 mark for a three- to four-hour return economy flight, UAE-Pakistan prices have remained relatively affordable.

“There is a sea and sky difference in airfares to East Asian or Indian destinations, for example. Fares to Pakistan remain affordable throughout the summer, except for Eid Al Adha travel,” said Basheer Mohammed, General Manager of Europe Travel and Tours in Sharjah.

Bolstered operations

The relatively steady airfares can be attributed to the increased operations by UAE and Pakistani carriers, who have bolstered their services to meet the growing travel demand, said airline authorities. The destination suffered from high airfares for a long time due to limited flight options and increased demand post-COVID. However, these issues have been resolved, and both UAE and Pakistani carriers are operating several flights per week between the two destinations.

“Passengers have many options (PIA, Emirates, SereneAir, Air Blue, flydubai and Air Arabia). Many of these carriers are operating five to 10 flights to Pakistan daily, which is keeping fares stable,” said Mohammed. “There are several options for all categories of travellers, and the numbers in daily operations are very high,” he said.

On average, Emirates operates four daily flights to Karachi from Dubai, while flydubai offers eight flights on the same route. Emirates operates an additional two flights to Lahore on all days except Friday. The carrier also operates daily flights to Islamabad on most days. The carrier’s sister concern, flydubai, has twice-daily operations to Multan.

Mohammed said: “We are also seeing robust operations from Abu Dhabi. PIA has twice-a-week Abu Dhabi to Lahore operations and daily flights to Islamabad. Air Arabia’s operations are also robust.” Abu Dhabi’s flag carrier Etihad is operating flights on Monday, Thursday, and Sunday on the Abu Dhabi-Islamabad routes, and there are daily flights to Lahore, except on Monday.

Sharjah’s Air Arabia operates approximately 60 weekly flights from the emirate to Pakistan.

Additional flights

A spokesperson for PIA told Gulf News: “All flights are fully packed for Eid Al Adha travel and after. Our fares are also very competitive compared to other local airlines (Serene Air and Air Blue). Capacities to Pakistan have increased ahead of the summertime travel this year. We are operating 15 daily flights from Sharjah and 42 from Dubai to various destinations in Pakistan.” Airlines like Serene Air are operating additional summertime and Eid Al Adha flights to meet the high demand.

Demand remains high

And flights to Pakistan are travelling at capacity. “The flights are full. The demand was higher than it was during the Eid Al Fitr holidays. Pakistanis usually lavishly celebrate Eid Al Adha, so we have families and blue-collar workers moving from here,” said Sufiyan.

Moreover, several Pakistani youths are coming to the UAE for jobs. “You even have a lot of demand from first-time travellers (visit visa holders) and job seekers at the moment,” the PIA spokesperson added. “The current travel demand is being driven by families, especially to destinations like Lahore and Peshawar. Multan and Sialkot are experiencing traffic from blue-collar workers. After Eid, we will see a lot of blue-collar worker traffic movement because the fares dip after June 30,” he added.

Air Arabia’s Air Jinnah and Wizz Air Abu Dhabi to launch soon?

Aviation analysts hope fares in the UAE-Pakistan sector could drop further after Wizz Air Abu Dhabi and Fly Jinnah, a JV between Lakson Group and Air Arabia Group, launch or scale up.

József Váradi, the CEO of Wizz Air, said the airline’s launch depends on the approvals from Pakistani authorities and could take anything between three days to three months for operations to begin. Pakistani civil aviation authorities require Fly Jinnah to operate domestically for at least a year before starting overseas operations. The airline commenced operations in October 2022.

UAE-Pak airfares to top destinations (July 1- 24)

Dubai to Lahore: Dh 1,135

Dubai to Karachi: Dh832

Dubai to Islamabad: Dh1,642

Sharjah to Labore: Dh 1,135

Sharjah to Karachi: Dh832

Sharjah to Peshawar: Dh1,496

Sharjah to Mashhad: Dh1,935