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 QAR 360 on May 25 now stands at around QAR 7,070 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.
As of February, fares from Argentina to Doha on November 20 have exceeded QAR 17,000 for a one-way ticket on Qatar Airways, whilst tickets from England have spiked to QAR 5,000 QAR.
For Brazil, supporters may also have to pay an amount nearing QAR 12,596 for a one-way ticket and almost double for an economy round-trip.
Tourism cooperation between Qatar and Iran
During Qatar’s Minister of Transport and Communications Jassim bin Saif Al Sulaiti’s visit to Iran’s Kish Island in early April, a number of cooperation agreements between Qatar and Iran were inked as part of strengthening the tourism sector ahead of the FIFA World Cup 2022.
The agreements included the documents previously signed by Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi on his visit to Qatar in February, three bilateral documents in the aviation sector, an agreement in maritime transportation and a document detailing cooperation grounds regarding the World Cup.
A total of six documents were either activated or newly inked, according to Islamic Republic News Agency.
A signed agreement included the operations to link Doha Flight Information Region, which was established in accordance with International Civil Aviation Organization resolution, with Iran’s aviation information territory.
A bilateral agreement was also signed to increase the number of flights between Qatar and Iran.
The Islamic Republic “is ready to provide any help in Kish Island in holding the World Cup games in the best and most glorious way possible,” President Raisi told the amir over a phone call.
Iran’s Foreign Ministry proposed a visa-free plan to enable the entry of the FIFA World Cup 2022 visitors to Tehran without charge, Mehr News Agency reported. This possible move falls in line with Tehran and Doha’s vision to strengthen cooperation in the tourism sector in preparation for the major tournament due in November.