A rapid increase in coronavirus cases across the world is costing billions of dollars to the aviation industry. Fearing the spread, many people have stopped traveling, whereas, several Gulf states have also banned entry from affected countries. As a result, the airlines are mostly operating with empty planes, which has adversely affected their revenue.
Some airlines have been forced to halt hiring, offer unpaid leaves, increase air hosts’ flight time, reduce the number of flights to curtail costs.
This has also prompted a drastic drop in airfares as various Gulf airlines, including Air Arabia, Emirates, and Etihad, have significantly reduced their fares from UAE to other destinations. They are now offering fee waivers, full refunds on canceled bookings and a free in-flight change.
Travel company website Skyscanner.ae shows discounts on return tickets from Dubai between March 13 and March 20. Tickets to Karachi from Dubai on these dates are at Dh862 (Rs. 36,496). Similarly, air ticket from Karachi to Dubai this week costs from Rs. 26,000 to Rs. 28,000, and from Islamabad to Dubai it costs approximately Rs. 35,000 to Rs. 37,000.
Experts believe that the discount offers are an attempt by these airlines to make up for the decline in demand.
“We see a drop in search from UAE to China and North Asia and Southeast Asia countries and an increase in the number of searches to India and Egypt by 40 percent,” says an expert.