Travel between the UAE and India is set to soar as the South Asian country resumed regular international flights from March 27 after two years.
According to travel agents, some passengers are confused about the Covid PCR testing rules for travelling to India. The country requires a PCR test for passengers who don’t hold vaccination certificates from India or some other countries on its exemption list.
Passengers vaccinated in the UAE need to take a PCR test as of March 27.
The Directorate General of Civil Aviation of India had suspended international flights in March 2020 when the pandemic hit the nation. On March 8, 2022, the Indian government announced that it will resume regular international flights from March 27.
TP Sudheesh, general manager of Deira Tours and Travels, said seat capacity improved with the resumption of regular flights which will increase the competition and the end-users will get more and better options in terms of seat availability and airfares.
“Higher supply will encourage passengers to increase their frequency. There are a lot of new opportunities here now in the UAE for job seekers, so it will be feasible and affordable to come to this place to look for a job. Plus, the tourism sector will grow because of Dubai’s proximity and ease of entry to the UAE and affordable accommodation. All these factors will tempt more tourists to flock to UAE. In addition, India and UAE signed Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement which will boost a lot of business travel as well,” he added.
With the reopening of the Indian skies, the number of flights to and from India will reach 3,250 flights per week by 66 airlines. Dubai’s flagship carrier Emirates has also announced that it will re-introduce pre-pandemic flight frequencies to its destinations in India from April 1, 2022. The airline will be operating 170 weekly flights to nine cities in the country. Emirates has also brought back the world’s largest double-decker aircraft Airbus A380 on a daily basis between Dubai and Mumbai in March 2022.
Mir Wasim Raja, manager, MICE and holidays, Galadari International Travel Services, said the number of flights will increase, hence there will be more supply and airfares will come to a more reasonable level.
He noted that overall travel from the UAE is peaking with the removal of restrictions by many countries, including the UAE and India.
Airfares in the last week of March
Sudheesh revealed that airfares on the UAE-India route generally increase between 30 to 50 per cent in the last weeks of March when travel peaks during Spring school break. But with India resuming regular international flights and more seats being made available, airfares grew by a mere around 10-20 per cent.
“Since it’s a seasonal rush with schools closed for spring break and a lot of people now travelling after being stuck for a long time, demand has increased but supply has not helped much reduce the price structure. The two countries need to increase flight frequencies because demand is very high,” added Sudheesh.
Despite the increased capacity, he projected that airfares will definitely go up during summer school vacation in June and July because of high demand.
Mir Wasim Raja sees airfares on UAE-India routes dropping after the peak travel weeks of school spring break.
Removal of PCR test requirement
Sudheesh suggested travel between UAE and India could reach the pre-pandemic level if the Indian government removes the PCR test requirement for passengers who have received Covid-19 vaccination abroad.
“The requirement of PCR test for people vaccinated outside India is the only thing which confuses passengers to travel between two countries. If a passenger is vaccinated in the UAE, he or she needs to take a PCR test and upload it on Air Suvidha. Everybody is waiting and hoping that the Indian government will drop this condition also,” he added.
Mir Wasim Raja said there is still confusion about PCR test rules for vaccinated and non-vaccinated travellers in India and UAE. “At times, clients get confused but we guide them.”
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