“This itinerary is in high demand as people have postponed their trips due to travel restrictions,” said a Dubai-based booking agent. “Fares are always higher – a one-way ticket currently costs about the same as a return ticket in the pre-Covid era.” All Filipinos have already started flying to the UAE in search of better jobs and economic opportunities. ”

Until now, due to some regulatory restrictions, commercial flights have yet to fully resume and those listed by airlines have often faced last-minute cancellations or postponements. Philippine Airlines, the national carrier, has also restarted daily flights to Dubai.

Not everyone charges exorbitant rates. Cebu Pacific, which resumed daily Dubai-Manila flights on March 8, offered a reduced fare of Dh429. For Dh557 and up, travelers can also fly from Dubai to Boracay, Puerto Princesa, Dumaguete, Cebu, Davao, Iloilo, Bacolod, Cagayan de Oro, General Santos or Tacloban – all via Manila.

“This marks an opportune time, especially for residents of the UAE, as Ramadan and Eid 2022 will likely fall on April 2 and May 2 respectively, giving them more time to plan ahead and book their vacation,” the airline said in a statement.

It’s not just international routes that are showing signs of recovery. Earlier this month, AirAsia Philippines, a national low-cost airline, said it sold nearly 146,000 seats for travel from March 1-31, 2022 alone. This is an increase of 131% compared to the same period a year earlier.

“AirAsia Philippines attributes this significant increase to revenge travel with relaxed travel protocols implemented in most of its destinations,” said AirAsia Philippines spokesman Steve Dailisan. “We look forward to maintaining full capacity in time for the various festivities in the various provinces to which we serve.”

The Asia-Pacific aviation sector was the latest to take action, as the region kept tight border controls in place for most of the pandemic. Hong Kong has some of the strictest travel rules in place, which has forced its national carrier – Cathay Pacific – to operate only a fraction of its pre-Covid capacity.

“While international travel remains far from normal in many parts of the world, there is momentum in the right direction,” IATA chief executive Willie Walsh said in a statement last month. “We hope others will follow their significant lead, particularly in Asia where several key markets remain virtually isolated.”