Rush for airline seats sees fares take off
Heavy rush for seats has pushed up airfares in some sectors with Doha International Airport seeing busy traffic, mostly outbound, with many residents flying out during the Eid al-Adha break.
Fares have gone up to 30% in some sectors compared to early-October, inquiries reveal. A “scramble for seats” is already seen in some routes, particularly, India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Philippines, Malaysia and Singapore and greater demand in many sectors across the GCC and South Asia, industry sources said.
The situation will become tighter from today as government offices and private establishments in addition to city schools and colleges have closed down for Eid al-Adha. “In the next couple of days, finding seats on flights to India, Nepal, Malaysia and Dubai will be extremely difficult,” a travel industry executive said. Flights to Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Bangladesh are also heavily booked from the weekend, he said. Inbound traffic from these places peak in early November, immediately after Eid al-Adha holidays.
Manila (Philippines) costs about QR4,950 (return economy fare) for outbound travel tomorrow and inbound (on November 3) on a direct carrier. A couple of weeks ago, the fare in the sector stood at around QR4,000. The return economy fare to Thiruvananthapuram, in south India, one of the busiest routes, had gone up to 2,940 (for outbound this week-end and return November 3) from about QR2,000 in early-October.
Malaysia, which is a highly sought-after tourism destination, costs about QR4,400 for a return economy class seat in the next few days. Return London economy fare now stands at QR5,150 for travel in the coming week while New York is priced in excess of QR6,500. Travellers will have to pay at peak rates for outbound and inbound economy class travel during the Eid holidays to Karachi (around QR3,350), Colombo (QR3,380) and Mumbai (QR3,700). Another sought-after destination – Dubai is priced in excess of QR1,800 this week. However, these prices may change with the demand-supply situation.
“There is generally an increase in fare of up to 25%,” an official said. And in certain sectors, seats are not available in economy class even at higher prices. Information available on Doha International Airport website indicates no individual piece of checked (outgoing) baggage exceeding 32kg is now being accepted.