Dubai International Airport, Terminal 3, Dubai Airport
The repatriation flights have seen heavy demand, but what of for other flights? Travel agents in the UAE believe it could be September before demand patterns actually pick up speed. Image Credit: Gulf News Archive

Abu Dhabi: The comfort factor has to return before air travel can show any sign of recovery, according to local travel agents. While the UAE has outlined its plans for resumption of flights, other countries still have to set schedules.

“We have to get more clarity from other countries on their plans - but as more start to open up, we definitely expect to get more bookings and sales,” said Tariq Hussain, business development consultant at Al Naboodah Travel.

But even as some flights resume, there won’t be a full and immediate return to pre-pandemic times, “The important thing is that operations are starting - as a travel agency we can at least get back to what we do,” he added.

Etihad and Emirates have chalked up flight schedules, and Dubai has been on a campaign blitz highlighting it’s once again open to visitors.

“With airlines restarting passenger operations, gradually you can see more bookings start to resume,” said Razi Koya, business development manager at Infinity Travel. “It won’t happen all at once - there will be people who will still have concerns and some markets will also have restrictions.

“Fifty per cent of our business is served in India and Pakistan alone, and we are looking for normal flight schedules to resume in both to have a real positive impact on our business.”

That bit about quarantine

For Absar Siddiqui, senior manager at Orient Travel, travelers have to overcome their worries about quarantines and the possibility of catching an infection.

“I don’t expect to see a surge to where we would like it to be,” he added. “There are many reasons for that ranging from quarantine measures on outbound flights and the requirements for returning passengers.

“When you put all of these things together it makes it very cumbersome for passengers to travel. Once things start to get clearer in these areas we can maybe see more demand.”

“At the moment as well we have had no enquiries from any travelers who are looking to go abroad.”