Jeddah: Several Telangana NRIs would be affected by the United Arab Emirates entry restriction beginning Sunday. In fact, many of them have been desperately trying to take any available flight from India to Dubai and other parts of the UAE.
UAE announced the suspension of incoming flights from India for 10 days with exemption of transit flights amid a surge in COVID-19 cases in India.
Many NRIs who traveled to India for vacation are running from pillar to post to buy tickets at exorbitant rates to save their jobs as most of them believe that the suspension was likely to continue beyond 10 days as covid-19 rages across the country. Last year, scores of Telangana NRIs lost their jobs due to disruption in travel.
“I bought a ticket from Hyderabad to Dubai at Rs.36,000 against the normal fare of Rs 7,000”, said Gantaji Santoshkumar, who hails from Nizamabad district and works in Dubai. “There were no second thoughts about the price since I will lose my job if I get struck in India with the pandemic at its peak”, he told ‘Telangana Today’ over the phone on Saturday prior to boarding the flight from Hyderabad to Dubai.
The scramble for the few thousands of tickets that are available over the weekend from India saw stranded passengers rushing for COVID-19 tests and flooding travel agencies and airline offices with calls and visits to book tickets.
Many NRIs ended up buying tickets whose rates skyrocketed after the suspension announcement. Hundreds of people also opted to travel one-way tickets paying up to Rs. 40,000 on a few chartered flights that were operated by Indian and UAE airlines. “Fares surged for all the airlines soon after the announcement. In some sectors, the ticket rates went up several folds. Many people are unable to book tickets because of the high fares and the difficulties in getting COVID-19 test results,” said Raju, manager in New Diamond Travels in Dubai.
Some affluent NRIs are even opting for private jets to reach UAE before Sunday. “Our friends are forming groups and arranging to share the cost to get a seat in a jet”, said a doctor working in Dubai.
According to reports, demand for private jets has boomed as many are desperate to return to UAE.
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