After holidays, air fares to Gulf hit Rs 30k

CHENNAI: to West Asia and Europe are heading to stratospheric levels, boosted by high demand from flyers heading back from the country after the September holidays.

Due to high fares via Chennai, travel agents have started to route travellers to Europe via Mumbai and Delhi. Fares to Chennai are already high because of tourist traffic.

One-way fare has touched Rs 30,000 for non-stop flights on route while the fare is Rs 16,000 to Rs 18,000 on flights with a stopover in Delhi or Mumbai. This is an all time high for the season, say travel agents.

There are only four direct flights to Dubai, three flights to and two flights to Doha. The one way fares are in the range of Rs 19,000 to Rs 30,000 for most of the days next month. One-way fares to the Gulf should be in the range of Rs 12,000 to Rs 15,000 during this season. In contrast, one-way fare to Singapore is in the range of Rs 4,000 to Rs 10,000. The travel time to both the Gulf and Singapore is more or less the same from Chennai. However, there are seven flights between Chennai and Singapore every day and a majority of travellers are tourists heading to Southeast Asia.

Seats to West Asian destinations are costlier on weekends because of the number of tourists heading to these destinations for short holidays.

Basheer Ahmed of Metro Travels said, “Flights are going full to Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Doha. This has increased the fare. Dubai and Abu Dhabi are also transit hubs for travelling to Europe and the US. Seats are full because the number of people travelling to the US is also high.”

He also said flights out of Chennai are the costliest. “It is cheaper to fly from Mumbai and Delhi. Many travel agents have started to route passengers through these gateways,” he added. The best fares are also not available though bookings are made much in advance.

Flights via Delhi or Mumbai to Europe are cheaper than direct flights from Chennai. The high round trip fares have started to impact tourists. Chennai has direct flights to Paris, London and Frankfurt. These flights are not enough to handle the demand, said an airport official. Passengers also do not enjoy convenient travel for the money invested in the ticket because low-cost carriers like IndiGo and Air Arabia, which do not offer free food and beverages and other inflight facilities, are also expensive.

Majority of the tourists fly to Europe and the US till mid-November which is the best time to visit after which the weather there gets cold and snowy.

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