Airfares shoot up ahead of Eid Al Adha break in Oman

Oman Monday 05/September/2016 21:55 PM
By: Times News Service
Airfares shoot up ahead of Eid Al Adha break in Oman

Muscat: Holidaymakers who have waited until the last minute to book flights for the Eid Al Adha break will probably end up paying more than 300 to 400 per cent for their ticket, according to travel agents in the Sultanate.
Read here: Eid Al Adha holiday announced in Oman
“Besides the regular destinations, there is huge demand for Georgia and Dubai this time,” said a flydubai official, adding that more people are now travelling to Dubai with e-visa.
“There has been a rise of around 10 to 15 per cent more applications for e-visa to Dubai ever since the holidays have been announced,” the official said.
This is simply because the Dubai e-visa is getting processed quickly.
“Earlier we had some problems but now the e-visa is working well,” he said.
Citing example of the high air fares, a travel agent said a ticket to Mumbai costs around OMR35 (one way) on a normal day, but if you want to fly on September 9, you have to pay around OMR200 (one way).
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“Most of the flights which leave Muscat on September 9 and arrive on September 16, 2016 are either sold out or have touched stratospheric heights. Those who have booked in advance are gainers,” a travel agent said.
For instance a round trip ticket from Muscat to London will cost travellers OMR600, while a return ticket to Singapore will cost OMR400 and to Paris about OMR450 this Eid.
“For Istanbul it will cost you a little more than OMR350 – if you are not willing to compromise on your dates,” he said. During the off peak season, the price of flying to Istanbul is around OMR120.
An Omani national, Fahad who was desperate a to book a ticket to Bratislava in flydubai said: “The fares were hovering around OMR100 before the Eid announcement on Sunday, but now the return fares to Bratislava have touched OMR400,” he said.
Country Manager of Mihin Lanka - Oman, Deepal Pallegangoda, however, claimed that the fares have not been hiked because of Eid.
“Rather, it is the way the system works and people are only getting the higher class economy fares as the people have already brought lower class fares a long time back,” he explained.
Speaking about the price fluctuation, another official from a leading airline said that a lot of people want to travel during this peak holiday season. “Airlines have four to five grades of seats whose prices change with demand. Fares fluctuate as a result of this system,” he added.
But the passengers are not happy with the situation. “The unbelievably high airfares show that the country like Oman needs a regulatory authority. Developing countries need such regulators as one cannot leave everything to market forces,” one of them said.
Suraj Kumar, 31, from India, said he was surprised by how expensive flights home were over Eid. “I’m flying to Delhi on a low cost airline and it still cost OMR 200 even though I booked it two months in advance,” he said.