Airfares have reached more than four times higher than the normal rates in the last week of August. This is due to unusually heavy inbound traffic from major destinations such as India, Pakistan, UK and Egypt.
A lot of expatriate families and individuals travel to their home countries for vacations during the summer holidays. The inbound traffic sees a massive jump in the last couple of weeks of August ahead of school reopening in the UAE.
Travel agents expect the India-Pakistan cricket match for the upcoming Asia Cup in the UAE will likely give a fillip to inbound traffic in the last week of this month while corporate travel will also stay strong.
“Airfares vary in terms of airlines and routes. But on average airfares are up four times in the last week of August when we compare them to regular days. The Indian subcontinent is the main sector that sees the most traffic and high airfares this time. On the European routes, it’s mainly the high-end people who have travelled for vacations and are returning at the end of the month. But traffic is a bit low on the Nepal route this time,” said TP Sudheesh, general manager of Deira Tours and Travels.
He said many of the flights are already sold out much before because almost all the families and residents purchase return tickets well in advance.
“People know when the schools are going to reopen by the end of August. It’s not only students, families and non-teaching staff, even most of the other residents also book seats much earlier. Since demand is very high and seat availability is limited, the airfares have gone much higher,” added Sudheesh.
The UAE witnessed very high passenger traffic this year as Covid-imposed restrictions have been eased after two years, boosting travel sentiment.
He added most of the inbound direct UAE flights are sold out from popular destinations such as India, Pakistan and the UK etc for the last week of August. “Even the indirect flights from the neighbouring countries are seeing heavy traffic and some Gulf flights are sold out as well.”
Sudheesh pointed out that demand is pretty strong due to the inflow of jobseekers, group travellers and businessmen. He expects that the Asia Cup which will start later this month would also further boost demand for inbound traffic.
Raja Mir Wasim, manager of Galadari International Travel Services, said demand is looking very strong for October during the Durga Puja Hindu festival.
“There are a good number of inquiries for the first week of October. In addition, traffic from the Indian subcontinent will pick up in the last week of August from cricket aficionados who will come to watch the India-Pakistan cricket match. Corporate travel will pick up as companies bring their partners and employees in large numbers to watch the cricket match,” added Wasim.
Tickets for the Asia Cup went on sale on Monday afternoon and the first batch was sold out within a couple of hours.