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Revealed: How UAE travelers are getting cheaper airfares as prices rise – News

Published: Thursday 21 Dec 2023, 1:48 p.m.

Last update: Thursday 21 Dec 2023, 11:13 p.m.

As a global aviation hub, millions of people fly in and out of UAE airports, flying with local and foreign airlines. These passengers use multiple channels to book their tickets: airline websites, third-party portals and traditional travel agents.

But when is the best time to buy an air ticket to get the best rate, especially since airfares have increased substantially after the pandemic due to the supply-demand factor?

The region’s ultra-low-cost airline, Wizz Air Abu Dhabi, suggests UAE travelers book three months in advance to get the cheapest fares.

“The trend we see is that people are finding ways to better access rates. I always tell my friends that if you want to book the cheapest flights three months in advance, the better you plan your holidays, business trips and trips, the better off you will be,” said Johan Eidhagen, managing director of Wizz Air Abu Dhabi.

The national ultra-low-cost airline offers special fares, sometimes as low as DH 179 to certain destinations and during special occasions, making it the most affordable airline in the region.

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Airfares rose due to high demand and low supply amid the advent of “revenge travel” in the post-pandemic period and high oil prices due to the Russia-Ukraine crisis.

Separation for low airfares

Eidhagen noted that “unbundling” is very affordable and passengers don’t have to pay for things they don’t want, so airfares stay low.

“Even though we see such strong demand, we have been able to keep rates relatively stable. So consumers do not feel the pressure of rising rates across the region,” he said, adding that as long as there is more demand than supply, rates will naturally increase.

“We grew an incredible 150 per cent, meaning we were putting quite a bit of capacity on the market and this has kept rates extremely low compared to most other operators. So we know that we need to keep our costs low to be more efficient and to be able to keep fares low,” said the CEO of Wizz Air Abu Dhabi.

He noted that the airline’s load factor has increased to 85 percent in 2023 and is expected to continue growing to more than 90 percent by next year.

Large Emirati customer base

He noted that around 18 per cent of the airline’s customers are UAE nationals.

“We attract all segments. It is not just a question of wealth. Everyone has access to low fares, people who are very price sensitive and smart in their travel choices book 3-4 months in advance or even further in advance. Actually, 18 percent of our customers are UAE citizens. Therefore, it is our largest customer demographic. At first, everyone was saying who is going to fly with you when the UAE is one of the highest paying markets in the world. [But now,] In fact, people choose to fly with us because they like to save,” Eidhagen added.

The airline carried 3 million passengers in 2023, up from 1.2 million the previous year, achieving a whopping 150 percent growth. Added 7 new routes to its network in 2023.

The airline added 300 new employees, including cabin crew and pilots, in 2023.

150% passenger growth in 2023

The airline operates more than 15,000 flights and will carry 3 million passengers in 2023, up from 1.2 million the previous year, achieving a whopping 150 percent growth. Added 7 new routes to its network in 2023. Carried more than 1.5 million point-to-point passengers to Abu Dhabi in a record year.

The airline doubled its workforce and added 300 new employees, including cabin crew and pilots, in 2023.

In 2023, it added four new A321 aircraft, bringing the total fleet to 12 aircraft, and increased its seating capacity by 135 percent to 3.7 million seats on sale.



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