World Economy

Arabs Fight Over Airfares

Arabs Fight Over AirfaresArabs Fight Over Airfares

Travelers in the UAE are reaping the benefits from a price war among the major Persian Gulf Arab airlines who are fighting for regional market share.

The airlines are increasingly competing head-to-head on many Middle Eastern routes with their hubs only a short distance from each other. The falling oil price has helped cut fares with fuel often the single largest operating cost of carriers worldwide, Albawaba reported.

Emirates, Etihad Airways and Qatar Airways have launched promotions this year that has seen the average fare on some Middle East routes from the Emirates drop by more than 10%.

According to data from travel portal Cleartrip, the average Emirates round-trip fare from the UAE to a destination in the Middle East last January was Dh1,441 ($392), 17.6% cheaper compared to the same month in 2015.

Etihad Airways’ average fare to the region was Dh1,211 last month, down 12.2% compared to Dh1,380 in January 2015.

But average fares from the UAE to Europe have increased this year since “demand from the UAE to Europe grew year-on-year”, outpacing seat supply, according to Cleartrip’s Taneja.

The average Etihad round-trip ticket to Europe last month cost Dh2,959, 21.7% more compared to the same period in the previous year.

While air travel demand from Dubai to India has increased this year, fares dropped year-on-year “due to aggressive pricing strategy by low cost carriers and Jet Airways,” Taneja said.

The average Qatar Airways round-trip fare from the UAE to India last January was Dh1,097, 14.6% cheaper compared to January last year.