Qatar residents flying to Europe have been spending an average of US$143 less for their summer flights than in 2014, but are still shelling out more than those flying from the UAE, new data shows.
Meanwhile, Doha travelers bound for the US are being forced to dig a little deeper into their pockets to pay for their plane tickets, after airfares inched up 3 percent over the last year.
That’s according to travel search engine Kayak, which analyzed search queries conducted through its website between January and April for travel in June in both 2014 and 2015 on its most frequent routes for Doha News.
It found that average airfares from Doha to Europe declined 16 percent from last year, from an average of $866 in 2014 to $743 in 2015.
While Kayak didn’t offer theories on what’s driving the decline, increased competition for travel to Europe may be one explanation.
Over the last year, Qatar Airways has added several new flights and more seats on several of its European routes.
Qatar Airways’ new direct service to Amsterdam, meanwhile, is scheduled to start operating next month.
Along with the additional competition, the decline in fares has also coincided with a steep drop in oil prices. Fuel typically represents a third or more of an airline’s operating expenses, according to Reuters.
In response to lower global oil prices, Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker said in January that the carrier would be scrapping its fuel surcharge, which made up nearly 18 percent of the total fare on a one-way ticket to London at the time.
However, no timeline was mentioned for eliminating the extra charge, which was still being levied on tickets this week.
And speaking at the Arabian Travel Market trade show in Dubai this week, Al Baker said the airline does not plan to cut fares.
“A lot of people think that because the oil price has dropped by 50 percent, so also our ticket prices should go down by 50 percent. They don’t realize that when the oil prices were high, our margins were absolutely eroded and we were in negative territory,” he said, according to Arabian Business.
Better deals for UAE residents
Like Qatar, fares between the UAE and Europe also declined 16 percent between June 2014 and June 2015, according to Kayak.
In absolute terms, however, it costs more to fly to Europe from Doha than the UAE, which is serviced by airlines such as Air France, Virgin Atlantic Airways, Austrian Airlines and several seasonal charters that do not operate at Hamad International Airport.
Kayak said the average fare between the UAE and Europe fell from $750 for travel in June 2014 to $620.
UAE residents are also now paying less for flights to the US. Average fares between the two countries declined to $1,442, down 14 percent from $1,680 in 2014.
Qatar residents headed to the US aren’t so lucky.
Fares from Doha to the US actually climbed to $1,612, up 3 percent from $1,578.
What trends are you seeing as you book your summer holidays? Thoughts?