Airfares in the UAE, and globally, could increase due to a shortage of seats. Local and global airlines are experiencing delays in receiving new aircraft from US manufacturer Boeing. This could limit airlines' ability to add more seats during the busy summer season. Summer sees a significant rise in travel demand, as expatriate residents in the UAE return to their home countries or travel to cooler destinations in Europe. As a result, airfares to certain destinations tend to go up during this period.

Ross Veitch, Chief Executive Officer and Co-founder of Wego, a flight booking app, stated, “Summer is the peak as people travel out of the region to escape the heat. We also do a reasonable amount of inbound but summer is mainly in the other direction. There is a certain number of visits for Dubai summer events and different festivals. This year, anybody who is thinking of travel should book soon as there are a few supply constraints on the air side. Some of the big airlines in the region had their deliveries slightly delayed, so there could be capacity constraints. There is going to be a rise in prices in summer.”

Veitch anticipates that airfares will increase worldwide, but not to the same extent as last year. Last year, many aircraft were parked in the desert and underwent renovation before being put back into service. Pilots also had to re-certify, including sitting in flight simulators.

Both European manufacturer Airbus and US manufacturer Boeing have been facing delays in aircraft deliveries. Airbus, in particular, reportedly postponed some deliveries originally scheduled for late 2024 and 2025. Veitch mentioned, “Most of the airlines have worked through those bottlenecks, so it may not be as bad as last year, but my advice is to book now.”

Emirates' top executives expressed dissatisfaction with Boeing's delivery delays as it has affected their plans for expanding to new routes and refurbishing their existing fleet.

Popular holiday destinations are experiencing a significant surge in demand. According to dnata Travel, the top holiday destinations for UAE residents during summer 2024 are Thailand, the Maldives, the USA, Turkey, and the UK. The Maldives has seen a substantial growth in bookings, with a 108 percent increase between June and September 2024 compared to the same period last year, primarily due to new hotel openings. The USA has also experienced significant growth in travel bookings from UAE residents and is now among the top three most popular destinations for summer vacations.

Meerah Ketait, Head of Retail and Leisure UAE at dnata Travel, commented, “UAE-based travelers are exploring more of the world, including a variety of new destinations across popular hotspots. Between 2020 and 2024, several new resorts have been introduced across the Maldives islands, and this year our travelers are taking advantage of the opportunity to try somewhere new. Other well-liked destinations like Thailand, Turkey, and the UK are also witnessing travelers explore more of their diverse landscapes and attractions, while the USA is an exciting new entry for 2024. Travelers are venturing across the country, with Los Angeles and New York being the most popular cities.”

So far this summer, 65 percent of bookings with dnata Travel are for international destinations, while the remaining 35 percent are for staycations within the UAE. The majority of bookings are for Eid al-Adha, with dnata Travel experiencing a 40 percent increase compared to the wider summer months.