The Demand For Hajj 2022 Increases The Cost Of Air Travel Between The UAE And Saudi Arabia
Category: Travel

As demand for the Hajj pilgrimage peaks, airline rates between the UAE and Saudi Arabia are firming up.

Riyadh and Dammam are now the only two airports where holders of visit visas can land, which has caused airfares to rise on all routes from the Kingdom. Hajj pilgrims may enter Saudi Arabia via Jeddah, Madinah, Yanbu, and Taif international airports. This arrangement will remain in effect until July 9.

On June 23, Emirates will charge more than Dh1,400 for a flight from Dubai to Riyadh. Saudi low-cost carriers flynas and flyadeal charge Dh400-Dh500 on the route. Emirates flights will cost around Dh1,600 in the second week of July, while the budget carriers will raise their fares to over Dh1,000.

The cost of flights from Dubai to Dammam will range between Dh500 and Dh1,500.

Most flights from Dubai are going for more than Dh1,000 to Jeddah, which will see most of the Hajj-related travelers. With airlines adding more capacity, airfares are expected to remain around the same level mid-July.

From June 23 to July 20, Emirates will operate 31 additional flights to Jeddah and double daily flights to Medina. These flights will run in parallel with Emirates' regular scheduled flights. Saudi Arabia is expected to host nearly a million pilgrims this year, the airline said.

Business travel returns

In the coming months, demand for Emirates-Saudi Arabia routes will be driven by business travel, especially since many UAE companies are planning to open offices in Riyadh and Jeddah. According to aviation data firm OAG, Dubai-Riyadh is the world's fifth busiest international route with 235,700 seats. (With more than 252,000 seats, Cairo-Jeddah is in third place.)

New flights are being introduced by airlines in response to this. From September, the low-cost airline Wizz Air will launch flights connecting Saudi Arabia's Dammam with Rome, Vienna and Abu Dhabi.

Robert Carey, President of Wizz Air, said, "Our expansion will bring ultra-low-cost travel to the Kingdom." Dammam will provide year-round sunshine for tourists, and residents of the Kingdom will have a variety of destinations to choose from."

Flights from NEOM

Saudi Arabian Airlines (Saudia) plans to launch flights to Dubai and London from NEOM, the country's planned futuristic city in the northwest, by June end. The Kingdom will introduce a new visa scheme that will increase travel to Saudi Arabia to its highest level yet. By 2030, the country plans to invest up to $200 billion and welcome 100 million tourists.

Last year, Saudi Arabia's tourist arrivals were 72 percent above pre-pandemic levels, which even then "outperformed" the regional average, said Fahd Hamidaddin, CEO of Saudi Tourism Authority, at an industry event last month. "We saw a growth of more than 130 percent in the first quarter of this year compared to pre-pandemic levels, and we believe that this will continue."

23 Jun, 2022 0 84
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