Dubai: Indian expatriates residing in the UAE who wish to celebrate Diwali in their home country should act promptly while booking their flight tickets.

Airfares to most Indian cities have already increased by 15 to 20 percent compared to October fares. Furthermore, as the Diwali festival, scheduled for November 12, approaches, air ticket prices are expected to increase further, especially during the first week of November.

Rashid Abbas, CEO of Arooha Travels, said: “Airfares to India had fallen sharply after summer highs. Due to lower demand, return airfares were available for Dh780 to Dh1,100 to most destinations in India from September to the second week of October.” Now that Dussehra festivities have begun, rates have started rising steadily, Abbas said. “Families travel to India for week-long getaways during the festive season,” he added.

Connecting flights are an option.

In some cases, travelers also opt for flights with a stopover to other Indian airports. “For example, instead of taking a direct Dubai-Bengaluru-Dubai flight, travelers stopover in Delhi, which offers fares at least Dh700 cheaper,” Abbas said. Direct flights from Dubai to Bengaluru cost Dh1,482 for travel from November 6 to 15. An Air India flight via Delhi costs Dh782.

“It also depends on the hours that travelers must spend at the connecting airport. If it is a stopover of one to two hours, passengers immediately book the stopover option. However, if the layover time exceeds 4 hours, they choose direct flights,” said Wasim Ansari of Travel Square Tourism.

Transit centers have higher fares

In particular, airfares to major Indian transit hubs such as Bengaluru, Chennai and Kolkata, as well as destinations with fewer direct flight options from the UAE, such as Lucknow, Varanasi, Kannur, Jaipur and Surat, have seen their rates double compared to October prices, travel agents said.

Basheer Mohammed, CEO of Europe Travel and Tours, said: “Transit hubs such as Bengaluru and Chennai in the southern Indian sector have historically shown higher airfares, despite the prevalence of direct flights to these airports.” .

He added: “Emirates operates three flights daily to Bengaluru. However, the capacity of these flights from Bengaluru consistently averages around 75 per cent as most passengers have connecting flights to European and US destinations.” Bengaluru and Chennai are major IT hubs in India and are home to the headquarters of several US-based conglomerates.

How much do you need to pay?

Airfares from the UAE to Bengaluru between November 6 and 15 are currently priced at Dh1,550 (IndiGo) and Dh1,490 (Air Arabia), with Emirates offering fares ranging from Dh1,690 to Dh1,820.

“These rates are subject to change and are likely to increase by 15 to 20 percent in the coming days,” according to Mohammed. By comparison, round-trip economy class fares for this sector from September to October, after the peak summer travel period, averaged around Dh1,100.

Lower frequency, higher rates

Even destinations with limited flight frequencies have notably high fares compared to places that offer direct connections to the UAE. “For example, an Emirates flight to Kolkata from November 6 to 15 has a substantial fare of Dh3,255,” said an agent at Uranus Travels.

Similarly, flights to Ahmedabad average Dh1,740 despite the availability of direct services from low-cost airlines like IndiGo and SpiceJet. Even flydubai offers direct flights to this destination at the same price of Dh1,740.

Flights to Varanasi, operated by Air India Express, currently have an average price of Dh1,902 during this period. In contrast, Air India Express sells return economy class flights to Jaipur for Dh1,982, and Air Arabia offers tickets for Dh2,177. In comparison, fares on these routes during September-October typically ranged between Dh982 and Dh1,100.

A very busy season is coming

According to the Dubai Department of Economy and Tourism, Dubai welcomed 1,568,000 travelers from January to August this year, an increase of 44 percent compared to the same period last year. “India continues to retain its status as Dubai’s largest source market. Around 18 per cent of visitors to Dubai come from the South Asian region,” Ansari said.

And with mega events such as the Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Formula 1 Grand Prix leading up to COP28, this sector will see a substantial increase in inbound travel. That said, there may be no respite from high airfares from the second week of November to the first week of January 2024. “Fares will rise steadily and remain between Dh1,800 and Dh2,800 until the end of the holiday. winter. season,” Ansari said.