Soaring air fares hit expats’ plans

MUSCAT, March 31
An Indian expat is all excited that his family — his wife and two children —will be arriving in Muscat next week on a two-month holiday when schools close for summer in India. However, it set him back by RO 450, thanks to the soaring air fares.
A month ago, a one-way ticket would have cost him just RO 50. Now, he has had to pay three times the amount. Rates are likely to go up further in the coming days.
Even the no-frills carriers have hiked up the price two-fold.
“The rise in air fares is because of supply and demand. When demand is high, price will rise and when demand is low, price remains low,” says Reena AbdulRahman, OOC Manager, Salam Air.
The lowest fares are not applicable during the peak season as seats are fewer. According to Reena, the price of any commodity or service will go high in proportion to the demand.
Shahara Kallinkeel, travel consultant, Eternity International, a travel agency, says the traffic on this route is high during school closing season.
The hike has also affected the plans of those contemplating Umrah pilgrimage. They have had to pay a premium to purchase air tickets.
“Although most pilgrims have paid their fares well in advance, there are some who decide to perform Umrah a few days before. They are hit by these fares,” said Kassim of Akbar Travels.
However, some agencies representing major airlines have offered 10 per cent off for a stipulated period, which has come as a relief for many.
Soon after the visitor flow recedes by mid-May, it will be time for expat schools in Oman to close for summer break, when air fares are likely to shoot up again. This will impact families heading home for vacation, besides those who want to return to Oman after holidays.