Airfares from the UAE to different destinations across the globe including India, Pakistan have been dramatically reduced due to the outbreak of Covid-19 coronavirus. Also, airlines have agreed to give up fees, cancel the bookings with a complete refund and offer a free-of-cost change in flight.
Emirates, Etihad and Air Arabia have made the announcement that they will waiver fees if changes are made to the booking from 7th March to the first week of April.
The fee will be waivered by Emirates if changes are made to the bookings on or before 31st March. Bonus tier miles are being offered and tier travel requirement will be reduced to ensure that the Skywards members retain their status.
Ticket prices have dropped considerably. For instance, a stop-over flight to New York on Saudia Airlines is Dh1,938 while the direct flight on Emirates is Dh4,225. The usual price to this sector so close to departure is priced at Dh4,900 and above. Similarly, the prices dropped in flights out of Sharjah and Abu Dhabi airports as well.
The managing director, MENA, and India of Wego, a travel booking website Mamoun Hmedan said, “The average airfare dropped by five percent year-over-year. However, a lot of airlines are offering discounts and deals to make up for the decline in demand.”
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Adding, “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.”
Furthermore, he said, “Due to the spread of coronavirus, we are also seeing a shift in the trends as travelers are going more towards staycations. The search for staycations in the UAE has increased year-over-year. Hotel staycations grew by 60 percent year-over-year. We also recorded a 54 percent increase in the demand on the searches for resorts in the UAE.”