Sky-high airfares to Gulf regions as expats plan to return after vacation

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HIGHLIGHTS

  • Air fares from the United Arab Emirates to airports in Kerala exceeded 2,000 dirhams (43,000 rupees) on August 30 and 31.
  • Cheap flight tickets are not available from UAE to cities like Bangalore, Chennai, Cochin and Trivandrum.
  • In the first week of July, air fares from Cochin to Dubai were Rs 20,000
Kozhikode: The exorbitant air fares charged to passengers to and from Kerala and the United Arab Emirates have caused widespread discontent and anger as passengers find it difficult to travel to Kerala for their Onam holidays. The unprecedented price hike comes even as Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has twice written to the Prime Minister about it asking for his urgent intervention.

Airfares have risen primarily for expats looking to return to the Gulf regions after vacation. Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had written on July 3 to Prime Minister Modi seeking his immediate personal intervention to reduce exorbitant airfares in the post-COVID period in the domestic and international sectors. However, the recent decision to raise airfares ahead of the festival season has affected the holiday plans of expats who are already burdened by the airfares introduced earlier.

The ticket price to Dubai from Kozhikode per passenger is 1,500 dirhams (32,250 rupees) from August 14. Air fares are expected to touch 2000 dirhams after August 20. Flight costs. Flight costs during the month of September for Onam have also increased. State travel agencies told Times Digital that the high price had led expats to cancel plans to return home.
“Passengers who used to book their tickets every year in July and August were reluctant this time around and canceled their plans. Unless there is an intervention from the government and airlines side, we cannot expect lower prices,” said Sunil Kumar, an operator of AJ travel agency in Ernakulam.

Many are hoping there will be a chartered flight service between the UAE and Kerala as has been done during the Covid pandemic. However, several major airlines are subject to restrictions to operate charter flights in the India-UAE sector.

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