Some UAE residents stranded in India say they will be resorting to the ‘expensive option’ of business jets to return to the country.
With India further pushing back the dates for the start of scheduled passenger flights to foreign destinations including the UAE, expats who say they are desperate to return after months of uncertainty are willing to pay up to Dh15,000 per ticket to fly back to the country of their residence.
Business jets, a mode of transport so far reserved for the well-heeled and not necessarily used for repatriation or evacuation of stranded people, have seemingly come to the rescue of those who can afford to spend between Dh10,000 and Dh15,000 for the option.
Despite the price of a one-way ticket to the UAE on a 12- or 14-seater Business jet working out to about ten times of what a one-way Business class ticket used to cost in pre-Covid era from cities in India to those in the UAE, the residents are eager to shell it out and find closure.
“Finally, my husband got to Dubai from India on a chartered flight. It’s an expensive option but I’m glad that there was an ‘option’. We tried everything possible and this was the only way to get him to Dubai right now,” wrote Zara Syed on social media.
She also thanked the various groups that are connecting people and helping them pool in the money.
Rohan, another passenger, is back to the busy work schedule and is glad he found a solution to return to the UAE.
Jithin Mada, who has been arranging business jets from Mumbai to Dubai, told Khaleej Times that his next few flights are fully booked. “One flight has 13 seats. People are resorting to this as there is no other available option,” he said.
Meanwhile, Sujitha Menon, who is trying hard to bring her two nieces back from Pune, said the amount charged is insane. “My nieces are stuck with 50 other students – all of them staying with their friends or relatives. Paying 10-fold for a flight shouldn’t be the only option left.
“When I approached an agency, they were willing to help with a bigger flight if I could arrange 190 passengers. But stranded residents are really scattered across the country and it’s hard to bring them together. I am trying to connect to people and have asked those stranded to fill up Google forms so that I can pass it on to the relevant channels,” she added.