Airfares to the Indian subcontinent are expected to double in July and August as demand for outbound travel will peak when many families travel to their home countries during the summer vacations.

The travel industry executives said there is a strong demand for travel during the summer vacations because this is the first summer break without Covid-19 restrictions after two years as travellers are not required to carry negative PCR tests, take approval from the General Director of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA) or the Federal Authority for Identity, Citizenship, Customs and Port Security prior to returning to the UAE.

The decline in new coronavirus cases and relaxation in travel restrictions have substantially improved travellers’ confidence. Many budget-conscious expatriate families in the UAE have not travelled to their home countries in the past two years, fearing Covid-driven travel restrictions could be imposed again.

In June, airfares to India are around Dh1,500 to Dh1,600, depending on the destination.

The travel industry executives noted that fares to popular Indian cities could reach up to Dh3,000 during the peak days soon after the summer school holidays begin in the UAE.

“Flights to home countries are expensive while flying to Europe and US is a challenge. Airfares to popular destinations to India, Pakistan and other Indian subcontinent countries will see a sharp increase in the coming weeks as expat families will increasingly fly to their home countries,” said Avinash Adnani, managing director of Pluto Travels.

“Airfares to India are in the range of Dh2,000 to Dh2,200 for July and likely to touch or surpass Dh3,000 during peak days in July and August. There is be a heavy demand during Eid Al Adha in July,” added Adnani.

Mir Wasim Raja, manager, MICE and holidays, Galadari International Travel Services, said airfares are on the very high side for July and August and most of the seats are sold out, especially during the Eid Al Adha days from July 8 to 11.

“Airfares to Europe have more than doubled during Eid. The day school holidays start, airfares go up for the next seven to 10 days because a large number of families fly out to their home countries. Then again, inbound airfares go up just before the schools reopen as families return to the UAE in the last week of August,” said Raja.

Avinash Adnani said this is the first summer vacation after two years that all the Covid-19 related visa restrictions have been relaxed with no need for PCR tests, quarantine and prior approval from the GDRFA or ICA.

Najam-ul-Sheikh Saqib, a long-time Dubai resident, said he has cancelled his plans for summer vacations to visit Pakistan due to high fares. “When it comes to airfares, we have a family of six people and it’s costing us quite a huge sum. Therefore, we decided that some of us will travel this summer and others during the winter break,” said Saqib.

Waseem Akhtar, a UAE resident for 25 years, said he had bought the flight ticket well ahead of Eid Al Adha and managed to save some money. “But it still cost me much more than normal airfares.”

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