Dubai flights: Airlines react as rapid Covid PCR test is scrapped for India, Pakistan passengers

Confirming that they have received the circular, airline representatives said the move comes as a major relief

File photo
File photo

By Muzaffar Rizvi and Sahim Salim

Published: Tue 22 Feb 2022, 1:13 PM

Last updated: Tue 22 Feb 2022, 9:28 PM

Airlines have expressed relief after Dubai authorities removed the rapid PCR testing requirement for passengers travelling from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.

Confirming that they have received the circular, airline representatives said the move comes as a major relief.

"As per the latest advice from the authorities, there is no need to conduct rapid PCR test within four to six hours at the (departure) airport," Shohail Sheikh, airblue's country manager for the UAE, told Khaleej Times on Tuesday.

"It is major relief (offered) by the Dubai authorities to passengers and (will) equally benefit airlines and airports," he added.

Abdullah Khan, a spokesperson for Pakistan International Airlines (PIA), confirmed receiving the circular as well.

"We are waiting (and hoping) for a (similar) update from the Abu Dhabi civil aviation authorities,” Khan said.

Khalid Bashir, chief commercial officer of SereneAir, said passengers are sure to be happy with the latest move. “It was a difficult requirement for them,” he added.

India and Pakistan are the two top destination countries for Dubai International Airport (DXB) by passenger volume.

DXB retained its position as the world’s busiest airport for the eighth consecutive year after clocking 29.1 million passengers in annual traffic in 2021. India accounted for 4.2 million passengers in 2021, followed by Pakistan with 1.8 million.

The latest move comes as Indian airlines recently announced that passengers flying from Dubai don’t need to take a PCR test if they have received two doses of a Covid vaccine in India. The exemption is not applicable for passengers from Abu Dhabi.

"Many people who were stuck in India due to Covid-19 restrictions have started flocking to UAE. This facility extended by the Indian carriers is definitely a blessing for them,” TP Sudheesh, general manager of Deira Tours and Travels, had told Khaleej Times earlier.

Wasim Raja, manager, MICE and holidays, Galadari International Travel Services, had said that travel demand would “definitely” go up because PCR tests had been a “big challenge” for vaccinated travellers.

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