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5 ways to fly more for less

5 ways to fly more for less

The airline industry has been adversely affected by the financial crisis, and is now trying to woo customers back with good deals. Here are a few in the region.

May 4, 2009 3:10 by

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) recently announced that the air travel industry is expected to face a $62 billion (12 percent) fall in revenues this year because of the economic slowdown.

While Middle Eastern carriers were the only ones in the world to experience growth in March this year, the IATA said it expects that they will lose $900 million in 2009 thanks to overcapacity.

So, it’s no wonder that regional airlines are trying their best to tempt customers with bargains. Here’s what some of them are currently offering:

1. Etihad Airways has launched what it calls ‘e-Deals’, which will be available on the airline’s website every Monday and Tuesday. They offer UAE residents low airfares to different cities each week.

On offer this week (May 4, and 5) are return tickets from Abu Dhabi to Bahrain, Damascus, Amman, Beirut and Cairo from AED40, to New Delhi from AED100, and to London Heathrow, Manchester, Munich and Casablanca from AED200. However, you have to complete travel by May 18.

2. Many of the offers from Emirates Airlines are for visitors to the UAE. The carrier recently announced that all passengers booking first and business class tickets between May 15 and September 15, will be eligible to receive free accommodation, including breakfast, at the Address Downtown Burj Dubai.

First class passengers will receive two nights free accommodation; while business class passengers will get a one night stay at the hotel. The passengers will also get complimentary tickets to visit the Dubai Mall Aquarium and Underwater Zoo at the Dubai Mall.

Meanwhile, the airline has a special promotion for UAE residents with children. If you book a package through Emirates to visit Disneyland Resort in Paris between April 3 and November 8 2009, children under seven years of age will be offered complimentary tickets, hotel accommodation and entry to two Disney Parks.

3. Qatar Airways is giving away offers for select cities through its website. Return tickets from Abu Dhabi to Moscow start from AED750, to Athens from AED830, to London from AED930, and to Vienna from AED1060.

The fares from Dubai are slightly more expensive, return flights to Manchester start from AED990, Paris from AED1,200, and New York and Washington are priced from AED1,990.

However, all the bookings have to be made before May 15, and are valid for travel on or before May 31.

4. For those traveling from Kuwait, Gulf Air currently has great offers to some Indian cities. Return ticket prices to Delhi and Mumbai start at KWD19 (around AED240), and for Chennai and Kochi at KWD29 (AED366).

The airline is also offering special fares to Bahrain, starting at KWD9 (AED113), and Istanbul at KWD79 (AED997).

However, these rates are only available until May 7, and travel has to be completed by June 15.

5. Sharjah-based budget airline Air Arabia, which recently launched its Athens and Goa routes, has attractive packages for passengers from India to travel to Greece, Egypt, Jordan and the Gulf.

The airline is offering return fares from India to the UAE from Rs10,973 (AED807), and is offering Indian passengers discounts on hotel rooms, car rentals and sightseeing tours.

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