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Monday, December 4, 2023

UAE-Pakistan Eid travel: Airlines step up operations, airfares hold steady


DUBAI: Airfares from the UAE to Pakistan have remained largely steady even as Eid al-Adha looms and the peak summer travel season looms, offering an encouraging outlook for travellers’ holiday plans.

According to travel aggregator SkyScanner, non-stop round-trip tickets to Pakistan on July 1 start at AED 832 (Air Arabia from Sharjah to Karachi) to AED 1,496 (Air Arabia from Sharjah to Peshawar) . The airline even offers one-stop travel to tourist destination Sukkur for Dh1,605 (Dubai to Karachi to Sukkur with Pakistan International Airlines).

A flight from Dubai to Karachi two months ago (during Eid al-Fitr) cost Dh1,345 on flydubai and Dh1,785 on Emirates. This compares to an average fare of Dh1,235 across multiple airlines earlier this year.

However, those looking for a last-minute holiday trip over the Eid al-Adha long weekend (Tuesday 27 June through this weekend) will have to pay between AED 2,504 (Dubai to Karachi with Blue Air) to AED 4,181 (PIA flight from Dubai to Peshawar).

Mohammed Sufiyan of Mardan Travel LLC said: “Fares during Eid al-Adha travel increased by 15% to 30% compared to summer airfares. However, after July 1, fares stabilized and in some cases, the off-season fares were 800 dirhams.”

Cheapest UAE-Pakistan fares

A three- to four-hour round-trip economy flight from the UAE to Pakistan has crossed the AED3,500-4,000 mark, while airfares from the UAE to Pakistan remain relatively affordable compared to airfares to other popular tourist destinations in the UAE.

“For example, there is a sea-to-sky difference in airfares to destinations in East Asia or India. Fares to Pakistan remain affordable throughout the summer, except for Eid travel,” said Basheer Mohammed, General Manager, Europe Travel and Tours, Sharjah.

Strengthen operations

The airline authority said the relatively stable ticket prices could be attributed to increased operations by Emirates and Pakistan Airlines, which have stepped up services to meet growing travel demand. Airfares to the destination have long been high due to limited flight options and increased post-pandemic demand. However, these issues have been resolved and both Emirates and Pakistan Airlines operate multiple flights per week between the two destinations.

“Passengers have a variety of options (PIA, Emirates, SereneAir, Azur, flydubai and Air Arabia). Many of these airlines operate between 5 and 10 daily flights to Pakistan, which keeps ticket prices stable.” There are options for all types of travellers, and the number of people operating on a daily basis is very high,” he said.

Emirates operates an average of 4 flights per day from Dubai to Karachi while flydubai offers 8 flights on the same route. Emirates operates two additional flights to Lahore on all days except Friday. The airline also operates daily flights to Islamabad most of the time. The airline’s sister company flydubai has two daily flights to Multan.

“We are also seeing strong business in Abu Dhabi. PIA has two weekly flights from Abu Dhabi to Lahore and a daily flight to Islamabad. Air Arabia is also operating very strong,” Mohammad said. Etihad Airways, Abu Dhabi’s flag carrier, operates flights on the Abu Dhabi-Islamabad route every Monday, Thursday and Sunday, with flights to Lahore every day except Monday.

Sharjah’s Air Arabia operates about 60 weekly flights from the emirate to Pakistan.

extra flight

A Pakistan International Airlines spokesperson told Gulf News: “All flights for Eid al-Adha travel and beyond are fully booked. Our fares are also very competitive compared to other local airlines (Serene Air and Air Blue). Capacity to Pakistan has increased ahead of travel this summer. We operate 15 flights a day from Sharjah and 42 flights from Dubai to various destinations in Pakistan.” Airlines such as Serene Air are increasing summer and al-Adha scheduled flights to meet high demand.

demand remains high

Flights to Pakistan are also fully loaded. “Flights are full. The demand is higher than during the Eid holiday. Pakistanis usually celebrate Eid in a big way, so we have families and blue-collar workers moving out of here,” Sufyan said.

Also, some young Pakistanis are heading to the UAE to find work. “Currently, there is a lot of demand even from first-time travelers (visit visa holders) and job seekers,” the PIA spokesperson added. “Current travel demand is driven by families, especially destinations like Lahore and Peshawar. Multan and Sialkot are experiencing traffic from blue-collar workers. After Eid, we will see a large number of blue-collar workers traffic flow because fares will drop after June 30,” he added.

Air Arabia’s Jinnah and Wizz Air Abu Dhabi coming soon?

Airline analysts hope that fares on the UAE-Pakistan route may fall further after Wizz Air Abu Dhabi and Fly Jinnah, a joint venture between Lakson Group and Air Arabia Group, is launched or expanded.

Wizz Air Chief Executive József Váradi said the airline’s launch was subject to approval from Pakistani authorities and could take between three days and three months to start operations. Pakistan’s civil aviation authority requires Jinnah to operate domestically for at least a year before starting overseas operations. The airline starts operations in October 2022.

UAE – Pakistan airfare to popular destinations (July 1-24)

Dubai to Lahore: AED 1,135

Dubai to Islamabad: Dh1,642

Sharjah to Rabore: AED 1,135

Sharjah to Karachi: Dh832

Sharjah to Peshawar: Dh1,496

Sharjah to Mashhad: Dh1,935


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