Dubai: Airfares from the UAE will turn out to be costlier from the initial week of Ramadan starting March 23 from a year ago, with trips to India, the UK and the Philippines already showing 10-25 per cent rate jump.
Typically, the first two weeks of Ramadan are usually on the slower side in terms of flight demand and then builds up significantly right through to the Eid holidays. This year, there is a change.
One reason could be that this year’s Ramadan will also be the time for school breaks, and that means demand for travel is in for an instant spike. It sure is reflected in the ticket rates.
Round-trip Economy tickets from UAE to India rose from Dh990 to Dh1,316 (for travel from March 21 to March 30) compared to Dh935-Dh1,018 last year.
Booking a flight to Manila would mean paying Dh2,728 compared to Dh1,960 in 2019. Similarly, travel to the UK, the US, and popular European destinations will have similar hikes compared to March 2022.
In fact, fares have jumped by 15 per cent compared to this month (February), said Hemali Shah, Managing Director of City One Tourism and Travel.
“Fares from the UAE to various destinations are becoming expensive,” said Hemali. “Though Ramadan isn’t usually a time for travel, people choose to travel as schools are closed for Spring break. Despite higher fares, flights out of the UAE are at 90-100 per cent capacities.” However, travel agents have also said that more flights from Dubai International Airport would mean the travel expenses would not shoot up to unprecedented levels. According to data from OAG International, Emirates airline operates 1,501 flights per week, equating to an average of 215 flights per day. As of February 6, the total number of weekly flights to and from Dubai reached nearly 3,000, as Emirates continues to fill up its global network.
“With fluctuating ticket prices, set up a Price Alert and this way ensure to be among the first to see when prices drop with any additional discounts, or if new flights are added on established routes,” said Raheesh Babu, Chief Operating Officer of Musafir.com.
“A lot of families would be travelling during this time, and since many would need more than three to four tickets, it makes better sense to book them immediately,”
While outbound traffic is seeing price surges of 15 to 25 per cent, inbound fares from India also are higher by 10 per cent. Afi Ahmed, Managing Director of Smart Travels, “In India, schools are closed for the holidays around the same time. From March 21 onwards, inbound travel will be very high.
The next two months are peak travel times for inbound travellers from India. As for outbound travel, many blue-collared workers usually travel to their home countries during Ramadan, resulting in slightly higher airfares.”
Demand for inbound travel during this time is highest during March and April as it is the last month of pleasant weather before peak summer kicks in. Wasim Ansari, Managing Director of Travel Square Tourism, a company that caters exclusively to inbound traffic, said, “As the weather is perfect for just a few more weeks, we have a lot of traffic from India. This year, we also have a group of 28 travellers coming in from Indonesia during the first week of the Holy month.
The dynamics change once Eid- Al-Fitr kicks in. Airfares in both sectors will shoot up. It is better travellers book their flight tickets as soon as possible instead of waiting for the last minute.
Some travel agents operating in the Philippines sector have said many families, students, and teachers are travelling home for Spring break.
“For the Philippines, it is the first year where travel has no restrictions,” said Geoffrey Salatan, Managing Director of MRG Pinas Travel. “March, June, July, August, and December are peak selling and peak travel period for us. Fares to Manila taper down in the second week of Ramadan before going up again during the Eid break.”