The ongoing holidays have pushed up airfares. The prices of air tickets have gone up by up to 50 percent because of steep surge in demand. Upcoming Christmas and start of winter holidays in school are the main reason behind abnormally high ticket prices.
“The peak season for airfares has already begun. Those, who want to go out of the country between now and the first week of January, will have to shell out around 50 percent more to book tickets,” a senior official of a travel agency told The Peninsula.
“The five-day period of December 23-27 is a time when ticket prices are highest during the year,” he added.
Residents booking tickets from December 28 to January 3, will have to pay around 35 to 40 percent higher prices. The fares are higher for GCC, Asian and European destinations, say travel agents.
December marks the advent of peak season for Qatar’s aviation sector. It is the time when expatriates pack their bags to visit their home country. For many parents, it is a window of opportunity to plan a trip to their home countries as schools announce winter holidays.
Another major reason is festivals, as many expatriates want to celebrate the festivals with their loved ones. The outbound traffic is more for The Philippines, US, India, European countries and Sri Lanka. Qataris go for leisure trip to Turkey or countries in Europe. The demand for tickets is so high that booking tickets even in advance is not going to help much.
“If someone books the tickets for this festive season two-three months in advance, he would still pay 25 to 35 percent more than the normal fair. Also promotions by airlines are also not available during this period because of the high demand,” said the official.
“One peculiar thing about this season is that the trips are of shorter duration. Most of the visits are for one or two weeks. Students make up a significant number of travellers during this season,” he added.
Seeing the high demand, several airlines increase frequency of their flights. Mostly the number of flight increases to GCC destinations.
The demand for tickets remains high until the second week of January and fares fall to normal level later on. June to August 15 is another peak season in Qatar when airfares go through the roof.
Most of the expatriates go for annual vacations during this period as schools are closed for summer vacations.
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