Passengers using UAE airports are set to pay an additional fee in their air fares under a new security and safety scheme unveiled by HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.
International air travellers departing from the UAE will pay an additional AED5 ($1.36) security tax per ticket from July 29. Transit passengers and children under the age of 2yrs will be exempted from the fee. Airlines in the Gulf state were informed of the charge this month and many have begun incorporating the cost into their ticket sales, said no-frills carrier flydubai.
“flydubai was notified on July 5 that a passenger security and safety fee of AED5 per passenger travelling from any UAE airport would be introduced,” the airline said in a statement. “The charge will be levied at the time of booking and has already been incorporated into the price of flydubai’s flights departing from July 29.”
In a statement, Dubai flag carrier Emirates Airline said: “Emirates passengers will be charged an AED5 airport security and safety fee… [to] apply to tickets issued from 29 July for travel on or after 30 July.”
It is understood the service fee will go towards offsetting the cost of enhanced security in the UAE’s airports. Aviation has been earmarked as a key growth area for the Gulf over the next decade. The Middle East is forecast to see 400 million air travellers by 2020, according to data from the International Air Transport Association (IATA). Airlines in the region are among the biggest buyers of planes worldwide, with up to four aircrafts being received by local airlines each month.
The GCC is forecast to spend $90bn on airport development by 2022, almost a third of which will be funnelled into security upgrades.
Airport security has mushroomed since the 9/11 terror attacks, as well as subsequent events such as the discovery of parcel bombs in Dubai and the UK in November, intercepted on planes bound for the United States. Airports in the Gulf have since ramped up security, tightening loopholes around air cargo and investing in scanners and other measures, in line with IATA recommendations.