Asian carriers report subdued summer holiday season


Holiday season this year seems to be relatively low key, if airline operators in Abu Dhabi are to be believed.

This mood seems to be particularly reflective of Asian airlines, with Asian expatriates returning home to the subcontinent seeming fewer in number this year, as opposed to the previous summers, a local report said.

According to Air India's manager in Abu Dhabi, Kala Banga, the summer rush has been relatively "pressure-free" this "high season", and although the airline's 21 weekly flights out of the emirate are travelling relatively full, there is little to rejoice about.

She did not think it was entirely due to the raised fares for the season, which are about Dh300 ($82) over normal rates.

"Several people have certainly deferred their travel plans until after July 15 when the fares come down, it is true, but the actual reasons for the slump could also be due to the fact that the incoming traffic, or number of people coming into the country from the Indian subcontinent is not as much as it used to be," airline sources said.

Srilankan Airlines said there was a very marginal increase in numbers of travellers this year, certainly not enough to ensure an increase in the number of operating flights.

The airline which has three weekly flights out of the UAE capital to Colombo and indirect ones to India, said it had certainly raised its fares for the high season, from mid-May to August, but did not really attribute it to the reduced summer rush this year.

Sounding a note of optimism, Syed Tariq Ismail, Manager of Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) for Abu Dhabi and Al Ain, said that PIA flights were all travelling relatively full, and had encountered no real problems.