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Flight tickets soar in the UAE Image Credit: Gulf News archives

Dubai: Are you making a last minute decision to go home for Eid Al Adha? Get ready for a shocker! Prices are soaring and they are said to be one of the highest.

According to travel agents, flight rates to certain sectors especially to the sub-continent like India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka are particularly high as scores of expats from the UAE head home for the summer and the extended week-end for Eid Al Adha.

Travel agents based in the UAE said flight rates are peaking at the moment and they are up more than 300 per cent from non-peak rates.

According to Annie Vinod of Sharaf Travels Services, flight rates to Mumbai for a departure on August 9 and return on August 16 is hovering between Dh2,400 for a budget airlines and Dh3,300 on Emirates with non-peak rates to the sector hovering between Dh850 and Dh1,200, marking almost an increase in rate of almost 400 per cent.

“A key reason for a spike in flight rates to Mumbai is because scores of expats are heading home for Eid Al Adha. Added to this the massive cancellations on Jet Airways have made matters worse. Both these factors have ensured rates to Mumbai are soaring,” said Thomas.

“Even though Air India put on some additional flights, this is still not meeting the huge demand from people travelling to Mumbai from UAE.”

She said rates to Kochi are nothing less than Dh2,900 per person. “Off-peak rates to these destinations are between Dh1,000 and Dh1,200. Off-peak rates to Trivandrum is Dh1,200 to Calicut is Dh1,000, Kanoor is Dh1,200,” said Thomas adding rates to the god’s own country is at least 300 per cent higher for the long weekend.

She added that owing to the high season rates, prices on budget flights are close to what other carriers are offering.

Meanwhile, flight rates to Pakistan have also spiked. “Current average rates to Karachi and Lahore hover around Dh2,700 and Dh2,450 respectively. Off-peak rates to these destinations are normally between Dh800 and Dh900 respectively.”

She said rates to Chennai also was high at Dh4,100 and to Dhaka Dh4,055.

According to Piljo Paul of AFC Holidays : “Flight rates to New Delhi on Spice Jet for the days mentioned (Departure – August 8 and return August 16) is at Dh2,100 on Air India Express it is Dh2,800 and on Indigo Airlines it is Dh2,250. On Emirates it is Dh3,400.

Piljo said that flights to Mumbai on Indigo stand at Dh2,400, on Etihad at Dh3,000, on Gulf Air (via Bahrain) is Dh3,200 and on Emirates it is Dh3,300. Flight rates to Karachi on the dates mentioned are Dh2,200 on Air Arabia, Dh3,100 on Etihad and Dh3,400 on Fly Dubai. Flights to Lahore on Air Blu hover around Dh2,700, and as much as Dh5,000 on Etihad.

Flight rates to Dhaka are no less at Dh3,000 on Air Arabia.

Mohan Kumar said he paid Dh2,200 per person for a one-way ticket to Trivandrum. “It is way too much but what to do. Going on a holiday during summer is pretty much the norm. Something has to be done about putting a standard on flight prices. Not everybody can afford such high rates. Maybe I booked my Eid Al Adha rates late, but this is a huge penalty,” he said.

Another Pakistani expat said she decided to check flight rates for Karachi to spend Eid with her family. "I was shocked by the rates and decided against travelling," she said.  

Airlines grow, more passengers travel 

According to latest figures released by International Air Transport Association, IATA, airlines world over, carried 4.4 billion passengers on scheduled services in 2018 marking an increase of 6.9 percent over 2017. This according to IATA represents an additional 284 million trips by air.

Showing that global air connectivity continues to become more accessible and more efficient, the IATA World Air transport statistics (WATS), 2019, confirmed that record efficiency was achieved with 81.9 percent of available seats being filled, fuel efficiency improved by more than 12 percent compared to 2010 while 22,000 city pairs are now connected by direct flights, up 1,300 over 2017 and double the 10,250 city pairs connected in 1998.

“Airlines are connecting more people and places than ever before. The freedom to fly is more accessible than ever. And our world is a more prosperous place as a result. As with any human activity this comes with an environmental cost that airlines are committed to reducing. We understand that sustainability is essential to our license to spread aviation's benefits. From 2020 we will cap net carbon emissions growth. And, by 2050, we will cut our net carbon footprint to half 2005 levels. This ambitious climate action goal needs government support. It is critical for sustainable aviation fuels, new technology and more efficient routes to deliver the greener future we are aiming for," said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA's Director General and CEO.

Airlines in the Asia-Pacific region once again carried the largest number of passengers system wide, with market share of 37.1, or 1.6 billion passengers, an increase of 9.2 percent compared to the region's passengers in 2017, the report noted.

Following a very strong year in 2017, it added, air freight volumes grew more modestly in 2018 in line with global trade volumes. Globally, freight and mail tonne kilometers, FTKs, showed a 3.4 percent expansion as compared to 9.7 percent in 2017. With capacity increasing by 5.2 percent in 2018, the freight load factor fell by 0.8 percentage point to 49.3 percent.