Sunday, 25 April 2021

Officials confirm the exempted categories from India-UAE travel suspension

The officials from Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) told newspapers in UAE that the services of ‘chartered flights by businessmen’, is inc...

The officials from Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) told newspapers in UAE that the services of ‘chartered flights by businessmen’, is included in the exempted category for the current India-UAE travel suspension, but strict approvals from civil aviation authorities and MoFA is required.

The General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) confirmed that UAE citizens, diplomats, official delegations, holders of golden residency visa and flights of businessmen are exempted from the current entry restrictions for passengers coming on India - UAE flights starting from April 25.

The clarification regarding the ‘flights of businessmen’ was provided by GCAA officials to media. “The entry of this category of passengers is subject to approvals from MoFA and civil aviation authorities. It could be the use of ‘private jets’ for business purposes, however, the exemption is not meant to be used as a means of mass transport. They have to seek approvals from the airport before landing in the UAE, including providing a list of passengers on board the flights as well.”

The offcial said that the business travellers will not able to use the exemption category to use chartered flights to provide travelling facility for large numbers of passengers from India to the UAE. Moreover, the passengers of exempted category must follow below rules.

  • Take a PCR test at the airport as well as on the fourth and the eighth day after they enter the Emirates
  •  The person should undergo quarantine upon arrival in UAE.

UAE authorities announced their decision to suspend inbound flights for ten days for airlines flying from India starting from Thursday, April 22, due to the steep rise in Covid-19 cases and deaths in India.

The rule is also applicable to transit passengers arriving from India, unless they stay in another country for a period of 14 days.

Effect of India-UAE travel restrictions

  • Frequencies of flights between the countries has reduced due to the spread of Covid-19.
  • Both private and public flights have reduced the number of flight between the countries.
  • An official with Air India Express said, “The decision can be made based on booking patterns in the coming days. If passenger traffic is low, that is, if there are only four to five passengers on an outbound flight, for example, we will look at clubbing them on days or flights where passengers traffic is heavy. If bookings are there, we are more than happy to meet the demand.”

A senior official with a private Indian carrier with operations in the UAE told media, “With regards to outward flow, we are yet to understand the trends. It should become more obvious in the coming days. It is too early to comment on these trends.” The official did state that over the past two days, several airlines operated at multiple frequencies between both countries. “Several additional sessions were operated between UAE and Kerala, especially towards Kochi, Kannur, and Calicut. Large swathes of residents who were vacationing in India and were desperate to return to their homes in the UAE have returned,” he said.

The official said this included those who wanted to bring their aged parents and children to the UAE has come into the country as well. “Residents believe it is much safer to be here in the UAE,” he said. Several passengers also flew to India over the past two days.

“People who want to be with their families, those who need to attend to emergency matters including bank work, legal or property work, or any kind of official visits will continue to travel to India in the coming days,” said Raja Mir Wasim, manager MICE and holidays, Galadari International Travel Services (ITS).

He added, “There are also a category of passengers who have postponed their travel plans and cancelled their bookings as they are averse to risk. Most airlines are offering free cancellations as well.”

South India continues to be a sector with the most demand. The India–UAE air travel corridor is one of the busiest in the world. Pre-Covid, Air India Express operated at least 400 flights per week between the two countries.

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