Airlines operating in the UAE are dropping their rates to try and convince passengers to take a flight despite the coronavirus fear factor.
Tickets to main destinations in India for Dh700… and even as low as Dh350? And Dh1,500 to head to Manila? Are there enough passengers willing to take a risk?
Some of them may have to do so because of their work circumstances, according to travel and airline industry sources.
With large-scale event cancellations and general slowdown in business, employees in different sectors, especially those in services, are being asked to go on voluntary unpaid leave, which is resulting in more flight bookings.
Plus, the early – and extended – spring break announced for schools in the UAE is also resulting in increased bookings.
But it’s within the wider Gulf and Middle East routes that the rate cuts are most stark. As it is, most of the Gulf states have already restricted flights.
The average fare to Riyadh has declined 11 per cent from $401 (Dh1,472) in January to $356 (Dh1,300), while tickets to Muscat are 5 per cent cheaper, from $240 (Dh880) to $229 (Dh840), according to data from Cleartrip.
A ticket to Manila now averages around Dh1,500 on Cebu Pacific and Dh2,300 on Emirates.
Not surprisingly, ticket rates to Asia have taken a beating, with average price to Singapore reduced by 34 per cent from $489 (Dh1,795) in January to $325 (Dh1,190) last month. And those to Bangkok are down 10 per cent from $434 (Dh1,590) in January to $391 (Dh1,435).