Around 30 flights are set to operate between both Gulf nations daily to transport fans during the much-awaited World Cup in Qatar.
Those planning to fly into Doha from Dubai to attend Qatar’s 2022 World Cup matches can now get their hands on the ‘Match Day Shuttle’ flights between both nations from 940 QAR.
Dubai-based flydubai announced on Tuesday that bookings are now open on its website, with seats available daily to ensure an affordable and accessible journey for football fans visiting the country from November 21 to December 18 for the tournament.
The airline is offering up to 30 daily return flights between Dubai and Doha as part of a new transportation agreement between both nations for the thousands of fans expected to visit.
“We are honoured to enter into this partnership which will enable more people to travel between Dubai and Qatar to share in their love for football as this sporting event comes to the Middle East and Arab World for the first time,” said Ghaith Al Ghaith, Chief Executive Officer at flydubai.
Everything you need to know
Those who are using the shuttle flights will not be required to show proof of accommodation to enter the nation, and can easily do a round trip in one day to watch the preferred match before returning to the neighbouring country.
However, due to the huge number of flights arriving daily, fans are advised to book a flight that arrives in Doha at least four hours prior to the start of the match. In addition, registration for the Hayya card, the fan ID, is also required ahead of time or else they will not be allowed to travel on the shuttle flights or enter Qatar.
Currently, the flights stand at $258 (about 940 QAR) in Economy Class and $998 (approximately 3,3600 QAR) in Business Class. These rates include free ground transportation between the Doha airport and the stadiums, as well as a hand baggage allowance.
Only match ticket holders will be allowed to use this service, which will operate from Dubai World Central (DWC). However, Flydubai’s scheduled flights between Dubai International (DXB) and Hamad International Airport (DOH) will continue to operate at this time for passengers who do not have match-day tickets.
Keep in mind that the shuttle flights can only be booked as part of a separate itinerary and not as part of a connecting itinerary, the airline stressed.
The United Arab Emirates is the first country to open bookings for match-day shuttle flights, which comes as part of a newly signed agreement between Qatar Airways and other Gulf airlines.
In total, flydubai is set to bring up to 2,700 fans per day with 30 daily rotations, while Kuwait Airways will bring 1,700 fans with 10 daily rotations. Saudi Arabia will bring the highest number of fans, agreeing to 10,000 fans with up to 30 daily rotations. Finally, Oman Air will bring 3,400 fans with 24 daily rotations.
Easier, cheaper, and more convenient
The latest agreement between the Gulf nations came after flight ticket fees witnessed a drastic surge ahead of the FIFA World Cup in Qatar, raising several concerns from fans about the tournament’s affordability.
Economy class airfares from the United Arab Emirates alone have jumped by approximately 1,900 percent.
Though now the Gulf fans have an easier and much-more affordable alternative, fares concerns still remain from fans around the world.
The World Cup is anticipated to rush in an influx of visitors to the region, with daily air traffic expected to jump from 700 to 1,800 movements.
Flight tickets from the United Arab Emirates to Qatar have seen a drastic surge ahead of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, with economy class airfares jumping by approximately 1,900 percent.
According to the UAE-based Khaleej Times, airlines data have revealed that a one way economy class airfare which used to start from around 360 QAR on May 25 now stands at around 7,070 QAR on November 20, a day before the commencement of the much anticipated sporting event.
The FIFA World Cup 2022 is scheduled to be held from November 21 to December 18.
The Qatar and UAE sky is expected to see an influx of travellers, especially from Dubai, as many football fans look forward to the event.
Currently, Qatar Airways and the UAE’s carriers flydubai, Etihad and Air Arabia all operate flights between the two Gulf countries.
Managing Director of Pluto Travels, Avinash Adnani, said there are a lot of challenges due to the lack of available seats on the UAE-Qatar route prompted by capacity shortage.
Adnani added that airfares can further increase should flight capacities fail to expand accordingly.
“The challenge is that we are not far off from the event, hence, Qatar and UAE airlines should have arrangements where people can go in the day and return in the evening after watching the matches,” Adnani told Khaleej Times.
World Cup flight fares concerns
FIFA World Cup organisers estimate that about 1.5 million visitors will attend the upcoming major football event.
Airlines have significantly increased their flight prices to Qatar during the tournament dates due to the expected incoming surge of demand.
The countries which have requested the most ticket applications to date, include the host nation Qatar as well as Argentina, Brazil, England, France, Mexico, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United States.
In February, fares from Argentina to Doha on November 20 exceeded 17,000 QAR for a one-way ticket on Qatar Airways, whilst tickets from England spiked to 5,000 QAR.
For Brazil, supporters may also have to pay an amount nearing 12,596 QAR for a one-way ticket and almost double for an economy round-trip.
Qatar is yet to comment on the matter.