Six-day Eid Al Adha break leads to jump in some UAE airfares

High demand for flights to destinations including the Maldives and Seychelles

A resort in the Maldives, a popular destination for UAE residents over the Eid Al Adha holiday. Photo: Christopher Cypert
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Airfares from the UAE have soared for some of the most popular destinations during the Eid Al Adha break.

Residents are taking advantage of the six-day holiday to take a long midsummer break, but for some travellers, it may come at a steep cost.

Flying from Abu Dhabi to the Maldives with Etihad Airways on Friday, July 7 – after the break – will cost Dh2,700 ($735). However, for anyone looking to escape early for Eid a ticket leaving this Friday is priced at Dh4,000.

Similarly, prices of flights to the Seychelles are rising fast. From Abu Dhabi this week, it costs Dh2,600 but a flight next week will set you back Dh4,000.

Flights from Abu Dhabi to Nairobi this week are priced at Dh2,700 with Etihad on Thursday, but the cost shoots up to Dh10,600 on Friday.

Prices to Beirut from Dubai, which can be as low as Dh1,500 during non-holiday times according to online travel agency Skyscanner, are priced around Dh3,500 with FlyDubai and Dh4,500 with Emirates.

Travellers going to Kochi, in the south-western Indian state of Kerala, would often pay around Dh1,600 for flights. During Eid week, prices have rocketed to more than Dh3,500 for direct flights with Emirates and more than Dh4,000 with Indian carriers SpiceJet and Air India Express.

Dubai to London, ranked as one of the busiest routes in the world, is typically priced around Dh3,000. But during Eid Al Adha week, the flights have increased to close to Dh4,000.

Higher booking fare

Online travel company Wego said it has seen a significant increase in what travellers are paying this year

“The average booking value between 1 to 20 June 2023 is around 36 per cent higher than the same period last year, with the average airfare from the UAE starting around $832 during the upcoming Eid Al Adha period,” said Mamoun Hmedan, Wego's chief commercial officer and managing director for the Middle East and North Africa and India.

“Around 2.5 million searches from the UAE were recorded on our platform for travel between 23 June 2023 to 1 July 2023.”

Top destinations for Wego travellers during Eid include India, Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Turkey, Lebanon, Thailand, the Philippines, Saudi Arabia and Tunisia.

Mr Hmedan said the longer break this year has seen an increase in those looking to getaway.

“We see a lot of family and friends travel during the Eid where people are looking to travel back home to see their families, especially since it coincides with school breaks,” he said.

“We also observe an increase in the average trip duration to 12 days.

“To get better airfares, people are either avoiding travelling at the beginning of the Eid break or adding more days to get better bargains.

“Other countries that are in demand during this period are Azerbaijan, Oman, Great Britain, Indonesia, Bosnia, Qatar, and Nepal,” said Mr Hmedan.

“Some of these countries are visa on arrival or visa-free for GCC residents and people take advantage of the Eid break to explore such destinations.”

Online travel agency Skyscanner said 87 per cent of UAE travellers are planning to get away this Eid Al Adha holiday, with 54 per cent of those polled saying visa-free entry into the destination was an important factor in their travel planning.

The OnePoll research survey, which was conducted in May with 1,000 UAE respondents, also found that almost half of travellers – 48 per cent – from the UAE are searching for trips of a week or less.

“We’re seeing high demand for travel during the Eid Al Adha break with GCC residents being eager to make up for lost time since the pandemic and make the most of the extended holiday period,” said Skyscanner global social media manager Ayoub El Mamoun.

While prices have increased for many routes, he said they are not seeing a sharp increase in prices for all routes during Eid.

“In addition to this increased demand, travel is being affected by some of the same external factors we are seeing drive prices up across many other sectors, driven by higher operating costs,” Mr El Mamoun said.

“However, prices are not rising on every route, nor at the same rate, and there are still great deals for travellers hoping to get away during Eid, especially if they shop around.”

He said some of the best deals for Eid Al Adha from the UAE include Abu Dhabi to Muscat for Dh360, Dubai to Tashkent for Dh1,600 and Abu Dhabi to Ankara for Dh1,367.

Eid Al Adha begins on Wednesday, June 28.

Both public and private sector employees will receive as many as six days off for the holiday.

Staff will be granted paid leave from Tuesday, June 27, until Friday, June 30, authorities have confirmed.

Updated: June 23, 2023, 3:00 AM