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REVEALED: Middle East Guide to Eid flight prices

Prices on Gulf's most popular routes vary by over 360% in some cases.
NEWS, Aviation

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Return flights on the Middle East’s most popular routes over the busy Eid holiday period vary from carrier to carrier by more than 360 percent in some cases, with long haul routes reporting the biggest variation, a study by Arabian Business has found.

The study surveyed 30 airlines flying on the Middle East’s top five busiest routes over Eid al-Fitr. The biggest variation was observed on the Dubai-Bangkok route, where the difference in prices between the cheapest and most expensive carriers was $1,742, or 362 percent.

The other four routes surveyed were Dubai-London, Dubai-New York, Dubai-Singapore and Dubai-Johannesburg. The flight prices were for return flights on September 9 and 12, were for the cheapest flights available on the airlines own websites on August 19 and included all taxes and charges.

The Middle East’s busiest route, according to a UBS study earlier this year, is Dubai-London, which last year represented 17 percent of the combined capacity of all the top 20 international routes from the region and accounted for an average of 1,141 flights per week.

The cheapest available fare to London over Eid was with British Airways (BA) at $613.94, followed by Virgin Atlantic ($627.56) and Qatar Airways ($696.62). The most expensive was Lufthansa, which was $1,401.24, which was 128 percent more expensive than the BA flight.

There were similar differences on the other routes, with the long haul flights proving even bigger varieties in rates. American Airlines’ $885.10 price tag for a return Dubai-New York flight was 308 percent cheaper than Jet Airways, which cost $3,856.57.

To Singapore, Royal Brunei was best value with $679.29, while Thai Airways was 290 percent more expensive on $2,653.18. Heading to Johannesburg, prices varied from $695.62 by booking with Ethiopian Airlines to $2,462.60 on Swiss, a difference of 254 percent.

The difference in fares is down to basic supply and demand and how different airlines prioritise yield or capacity, said Mark Reed, general manager of Arabian Pacific Travel and Tourism LLC.

“Some airlines have seat sales and deals, when others decide to keep the yield higher and possibly risking flying with less capacity, but with higher fare paying passengers. Some airlines release specials later to the market, for example to try and capture some higher yield and then lower it to tempt people to buy only if required. The airlines try to balance these things to meet their revenue targets,” said Reed.

Sunil D'souza, regional travel manager for the UAE and Oman at Kanoo Travel, the largest travel management company in the Middle East, said the difference in long haul routes was down to the fact that low cost airlines rarely enter this market.

“With the budget carriers in the skies, the prices have definitely come down, again budget carriers are only short to medium haul, for longer routes that you have pointed out, legacy carriers will charge a premium as they see not much of a threat from low cost/budget carriers,” D'souza added.


Complete guide to Sept Eid air fares

An Arabian Business study surveyed 30 airlines flying on the Middle East’s top five busiest routes over the Eid holiday period. See the full guide to the costs here.

Dubai-London

British Airways - $613.94
Virgin Atlantic - $627.56
Qatar Airways - $695.62
Gulf Air - $714.68
Austrian Airlines - $774.58
Royal Brunei - $801.80
Emirates Airlines - $826.31
Etihad Airways - $1,022.34
Air France - $1,163.91
KLM - $1,180.25
Royal Jordanian - $1,319.10
Lufthansa - $1,401.24

Dubai-New York

American Airlines - $885.10
Virgin Atlantic - $962.44
British Airways - $1,030.50
Qatar Airways - $1,163.91
Continental Airlines - $1,413.40
Lufthansa - $1,560.40
Emirates Airlines - $1,585.92
Delta Airlines - $1,610.42
Etihad Airways - $1,634.92
Air France - $1,689.37
KLM - $1,724.77
Royal Jordanian - $1,855.45
Austrian Airlines - $2,032.42
Turkish Airlines - $2,727.78
Jet Airways - $3,856.57

Dubai-Singapore

Royal Brunei - $679.29
Jet Airways - $703.79
Emirates Airlines - $758.24
Singapore Airlines - $807.25
Qatar Airways - $858.98
Cathay Pacific - $954.27
British Airways - $1,604.97
Turkish Airlines - $1,865.97
Thai Airways - $2,653.18

Dubai-Johannesburg

Ethopian Airlines - $695.62
Kenya Airways - $740.00
KLM - $752.80
Qatar Airways - $807.25
South African Airways - $954.27
Emirates Airlines - $1,003.28
Jet Airways - $1,112.18
Etihad Airways - $1,240.14
Delta Airlines - $1,493.35
British Airways - $1,653.98
Egyptair - $2,144.05
Turkish Airlines - $2,350.70
Swiss - $2,462.60

Dubai-Bangkok

Qatar Airways - $480.54
Jet Airways - $646.61
Etihad Airways - $706.51
Emirates Airlines - $722.85
Oman Air - $760.96
Gulf Air - $789.55
Cathay Pacific - $997.83
Singapore Airlines - $1,049.56
British Airways - $1,643.09
Turkish Airlines - $2,161.19
Thai Airways - $2,223.01

NB: Prices are return fares available from September 9 and 12 on Wednesday August 19, according to the airline’s own websites and include all taxes and charges.

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