With the United Arab Emirates lifting a ban on transit flights from India soon after opening its borders to Indian customers, prices of flight tickets between the two countries have risen by about 70 percent and even tripled on some routes.
Starting fares for one-way flights to Dubai from New Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Kochi have shot up to Rs 40,000 to Rs 70,000 in the past week from Rs 13,000-30,000, according to data from airlines and websites of travel agencies collected by Moneycontrol.
Prices of flights from New Delhi, Mumbai, Kochi and Kolkata to destinations such as Abu Dhabi and Dubai have risen by an average of 70 percent in the past month. The cheapest air fare between New Delhi and the UAE is about Rs 40,000.
Air India Express offers an economy class one-way ticket at Rs 39,811, while Air Arabia’s starting fare is Rs 40,845. IndiGo fares start at Rs 41,868, while GoFirst offers fares from Rs 42,320. SpiceJet and Vistara base prices for economy class tickets to the UAE are Rs 40,454 and Rs 41,560, respectively.
Emirates and Etihad, based in the UAE, have starting fares of Rs 52,364 and Rs 53,874, respectively.
The UAE, a major hub for travellers from India heading to Europe, North America and South America, banned passengers from many South Asian and African states from transiting through its airports this year because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The surge in air fares between India and the UAE can be attributed mainly to pent-up demand as workers return to jobs in the Arab nation and business and leisure travel resume as the second wave of the pandemic abates in India, market experts and analysts said.
“People are willing to pay these prices as they have to be back here for jobs and economic activity in the UAE has opened up more than in India,” an official from New Delhi-based Swan Travels said.
On the other hand, there is also high demand for travel from the UAE to India. Thousands of residents are trying to go home after the easing of curbs imposed in April because of surging Covid-19 cases in India, experts said.
Economy seats on certain UAE-India flights have been completely booked, according to agents and airline booking sites.
However, experts said air fares between India and the UAE should return to normal by mid-September if there is no third wave of Covid-19 in India and more flights start operating between the two countries.
Currently, there are 40 to 50 flights a week from all Indian cities to Dubai, compared with about 300 flights a week that operated before the ban.
Last week, when the UK allowed travellers from India, air fares had shot up until the Ministry of Civil Aviation allowed more flights to operate.