Coronavirus: Airfares to India, Pakistan from UAE plunge
Monitoring Report
DUBAI: The Covid-19 coronavirus outbreak has resulted in a dramatic reduction in airfares from the UAE to various destinations across the world. Airlines have also agreed to waive fees, cancel bookings with a full refund, and offer a free-of-cost change in flight.
Three of UAE's major airlines -- Emirates, Etihad and Air Arabia -- have announced fee waivers for changes to bookings made on or from March 7 until the first week of April. Emirates, for example, has offered bonus tier miles and reduced tier travel requirement to help Skywards members retain their status.
A search for return air ticket prices on the travel company website from March 13 to March 20 to Kerala's Kochi, for example, is at Dh698 on Air India and Air India Express. Emirates is offering tickets for Dh895 towards the same sector. Tickets to Mumbai are at Dh660 and to Karachi from Dubai on the same dates are at Dh862.
Tickets to other sectors have also dropped considerably as a stop-over flight to New York on Saudia Airlines is Dh1,938, and a direct flight on Emirates is Dh4,225. The usual fares to this sector so close to departure are priced at Dh4,900 and above. Similar price drops have been noticed in flights out of Sharjah and Abu Dhabi airports as well.
Mamoun Hmedan, managing director, MENA and India of Wego, a travel booking website, said, "The average airfare dropped by five per cent year-over-year. However, a lot of airlines are offering discounts and deals to make up for the decline in demand."
He explained, "According to our data, UAE travel demand seems to be the least affected among the GCC countries. The noticeable change is the new destination mix. We see a drop in search from the UAE to China and North Asia and South East Asia countries and an increase in the number of searches to India and Egypt by 40 per cent."