Abu Dhabi: Airfares to the Gulf sector have soared forcing Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) families to think twice about travel plans even as schools reopened after the summer holidays.
Several families who returned to their home countries during the just-concluded summer vacation in the Middle East find it difficult to book return flights as they cannot afford the steep hike in flight fares.
The schools in the Gulf countries reopened after the vacations on Monday. However, many families remain in Kerala waiting for the fares to drop.
For a four-member family flight fares to the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries are between Rs 1.6 lakh to Rs 3.5 lakh. Travel to Abu Dhabi costs even higher as the ticket price is about Rs 5,000 to Rs 10,000 more. A one-way ticket for one person is now available at more than Rs 40,000.
Few seats available on direct flights
The airfares are unlikely to cool soon as there are many takers for high-priced tickets. In fact, there are no seats available on direct flights now despite the high fare. Many UAE-bound travellers have to opt for connecting flights to reach their destinations. They spend many more hours to make the trip even as a direct UAE flight from India takes about only 4 hours.
An individual one-way ticket to Kuwait costs Rs 52,000, while for a four-member family it comes to about Rs 2.3 lakh to Rs 5 lakh. To Qatar, the ticket cost ranges from Rs 1.5 lakh to Rs 4.2 lakh, with Rs 35,000 minimum for an individual one-way ticket. To Muscat, the capital city of Oman, an individual one-way ticket costs Rs 35,000 while for a family it comes to Rs 1.25 lakh at least.
Flight fares to Bahrain range from Rs 1.7 lakh to Rs 5.5 lakh, with an individual one-way ticket costing above Rs 44,000. The one-way ticket fare to Riyadh, the capital of Saudi Arabia, for one person is Rs 50,000. A family of four members must spend Rs 1.8 lakh to Rs 9.4 lakh to reach Riyadh as of now.