With resident and expat families avoiding leisure travel and companies freezing business travel, there has been a significant drop in demand for air-tickets from the UAE to India as well as to other sectors.
Indian diaspora families with children are cancelling vacation travel plans to their homeland and others are postponing all except mandatory travel due to the coronavirus risk, even though the fares are very attractive.
Major airlines have announced concessions such as fee waivers, free-of-cost change in flight, booking cancellations with full refund, bonus frequent flyer miles along with substantial drops in prices.
Emirates, Etihad and Air Arabia, three of UAE’s main airlines have announced fee waivers for changes to bookings made on or from March 7 until the first week of April.
Emirates has further offered bonus tier miles and reduced tier travel requirement to help Skywards members retain their status.
Tickets to high capacity sectors such as to Kochi, Kerala and Mumbai, Maharashtra from Dubai as well as from Sharjah and Abu Dhabi have seen significant price drops.
But all these concessions are still not making up for the lost demand resulting in airlines dropping several routes, temporarily scrapping flights or even stopping some flights altogether.
With the coronavirus cases still showing no signs of abatement there is a likelihood of the pricing getting even weaker and air traffic falling further, especially with more countries issuing travel bans to their citizens and residents.