Airlines report big rise in bookings in Bahrain
Manama, March 16, 2011
Hundreds of expats have been leaving Bahrain over the past three days, it has emerged.
However, travel agents reiterated there were still several options on the table for those planning to head to the Indian subcontinent and Europe, among other destinations.
'There has certainly been a rush in outbound travel in the last 73 hours, but the situation is not alarming,' said one travel agent.
'There are plenty of seats available on major airlines operating, in particular, to the Indian subcontinent and Europe.
'We have also seen a large number of families travelling en masse to Europe in particular and also to India and Pakistan.'
The travel agent, who requested not to be named, said seats continued to be available on several airlines in the next three days and beyond.
'There is perhaps some panic as a result of the situation and therefore the extra rush has been seen,' he added.
A Gulf Air official said all flights to all destinations were operating as normal and on schedule.
'However, some regional flights have been re-scheduled in keeping with the current situation and as an operational measure,' he added.
The official said the temporary closure of the King Fahad Causeway, passengers who had been booked on their land transport across the border to Saudi Arabia are being offered flights to those destinations at no extra cost.
'Passengers have been requested to call our call centre on 17335777 to confirm their flight status before proceeding to the airport.'
A British Airways spokesman said due to the deterioration of the situation in Bahrain, and following advice from the UK embassy against Britons flying here, passengers on flight BA125 who were due to arrive at 2am from London were asked not to travel within Bahrain from the airport.
'They were also urged to either seek accommodation at an airport hotel, onwards travel to Doha or return to London on the return flight,' he said.
'The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has also advised against all but essential travel to Bahrain.
'We are offering passengers the option of rebooking to alternative destinations or flying at another time, but are not offering refunds as the flights are still operating.'
The spokesman said flights out of Bahrain had been relatively full and people were travelling with families.
'This could also be attributed to the schools being closed for the moment and not indicative of a permanent move,' he added.
A visit to the websites of Gulf Air, Etihad Airways, Emirates Airlines, British Airways and Qatar Airways revealed seats were still available for travel outside Bahrain last night.
However, flights to Dubai and Abu Dhabi were full for the next two days, with some people reportedly heading to the UAE for a temporarily escape from the situation in Bahrain.-TradeArabia News Service
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