October 11, 2020 aviation

Huge demand sends Dubai-Kuwait airfares soaring

Airfares from Dubai to Kuwait have soared in the last week due to high demand for airline seats and limited availability of flights. With only three daily flights operating from Dubai to Kuwait, the average single, one-way, economy-class fare has gone up from around KD75 previously, to over KD700 now, with no seats available for the next two weeks or more.

Among the reasons cited for astronomical airfares are, a ban imposed by Kuwait on passengers arriving directly from 34 countries, and limiting the number of flights allowed to land daily in Kuwait. Many expatriates with valid residency visas in Kuwait and belonging to the 34 countries on the banned list, have during the past month been arriving in Kuwait from Dubai and other GCC states, after spending 14 days in quarantine there.

Passengers have been forced to take this two-step route as the authorities in Kuwait allow passengers from banned countries to enter Kuwait, provided they reside for at least two weeks in a country not on the banned list, and produce a health certificate from an authorized health center, attesting they are coronavirus-free immediately prior to their arrival in Kuwait.

Also, since Kuwait International Airport is currently operating at 30 percent capacity, it has limited the total number of passengers transiting the airport to 10,000 and the number of daily international flights to 100. This has led to a huge backlog of passengers, especially among those looking to fly in from Dubai which has been allotted only three daily flights to Kuwait.

The authorities have scheduled a second-phase reopening of the airport when it will operate at 60 percent capacity by February 2021, and a return to full capacity expected only by August of next year. Since many expatriates prefer to spend quarantine in Dubai before embarking for Kuwait, the demand from there remains high and correspondingly the fares. At the same time, return airfare from Saudi Arabia, Qatar or Turkey ranges between KD160 to KD260 per person.

Many travel agencies have seized the opportunity and offer attractive travel packages to expatriates looking to return from the countries on the banned list by spending the quarantine period in Dubai for prices that start at around KD150 per day for a 16-day quarantine, excluding airfare.


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