(Bombay) Air ticket prices rose dramatically and the demand for private jets increased in India on Friday, as everyone who could afford them tried to escape the resurgence of the Coronavirus outbreak before suspending flights to the United Arab Emirates.
From Sunday, all flights between India and the United Arab Emirates – one of the world’s busiest airlines – will be suspended due to a record high number of coronavirus cases in the Asian country as saturated hospitals face shortages of beds and oxygen.
Canada has also closed its airspace to aircraft from India (and Pakistan).
Round-trip commercial flights from Mumbai to Dubai on Fridays and Saturdays cost up to 80,000 rupees (CAD 1,330), about 10 times the usual price, according to price comparison sites.
Tickets for the New Delhi to Dubai flight cost more than 50,000 rupees, five times the usual price.
No further tickets have been offered as of Sunday, as flights from India in Emirates will be suspended for ten days.
The rush of private jets
As for private jets, the request is “absolutely crazy,” a spokesman for Air Charter Service India, which specializes in this service, told AFP.
He added: “We have 12 flights to Dubai tomorrow, and each one of them is completely full.”
“I only had approximately 80 inquiries about flights to Dubai today,” said a spokesperson for Enthrall Aviation, another provider.
“We have requested more planes from abroad to meet the demand … It costs 38,000 dollars to rent a 13-seater jet plane from Bombay to Dubai and 31,000 dollars for a six-seat plane,” he told AFP.
“People form groups and arrange among themselves to participate in a private jet just to get a seat … We have received some requests for Thailand but most of the time people want to go to Dubai,” he continued.
3.3 million Indians live in the Emirates
Around 3.3 million Indians live in the Emirates, where they make up a third of the population. The vast majority of them reside in Dubai, one of the seven emirates of the country.
The Emirates Civil Aviation Authority said on Thursday that travelers from India via other countries they have stopped in will have to stay in these three countries at least 14 days before arriving in the UAE.
Emirati citizens and private aircraft passengers are not affected by these measures, as are the ongoing cargo flights between the two countries.
The ban on access to Britain from India also took effect on Friday, with the exception of British and Irish citizens or third-country nationals who have the right of abode.
Round trip flights from Bombay or New Delhi to London cost between 100,000 and 150,000 rupees on Friday, more than double the usual price when you book at the last minute.