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Covid-19: Indian airports setting up PCR test stations to facilitate return of NRIs to UAE

Joydeep Sen Gupta/New Delhi
Filed on June 21, 2021
Reuters

Of the 34 international airports in India, more than one-third of them operate flights to Dubai under the supervision of the Airports Authority of India (AAI).


Airports in India are rushing to set up rapid PCR test stations to facilitate return of stranded NRIs to Dubai from June 23.

Of the 34 international airports in India, more than one-third of them operate flights to Dubai under the supervision of the Airports Authority of India (AAI).

These airports have been working overtime since the announcement last Saturday about the resumption of flight services from India to Dubai from June 23 in compliance with the revised guidelines issued by the emirate which include a rapid PCR test four hours prior to the departure.

The AAI and India’s Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) authorities swung into action immediately after the announcement was made in Dubai last Saturday.

Though many of the international airports in Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Chennai and Kolkata were equipped with the facility, others are following suit at a breakneck speed.

For instance, the southernmost Indian state of Kerala, which accounts for a maximum 65 per cent of Indian expatriate population in the UAE, has as many as four international airports, including in Kannur that became operational in December 2018.

“The authorities are pulling out all stops to ensure that rapid PCR test facilities are in place in all the four airports in Kerala when flights to Dubai resume on Wednesday,” Rajesh Poduval, head of operations at Kannur International Airport told Khaleej Times.

AAI and MoCA officials also echoed similar sentiments, as India is looking forward to the resumption of flight services from various Indian cities to Dubai.

The Indian authorities maintained that the international airports such as the four in Kerala would be equipped with a rapid PCR test facility by outsourcing the contract to a private health care provider on the lines of PCR tests being conducted there.

The challenge is to put in place a mechanism in double quick time amid the raging contagion, but Poduval exuded confidence that the authorities are well equipped to rise to the occasion.

Though travel agents both in India and Dubai are anxious about how the new standard operating procedures would be adhered to when flight services resume on Wednesday, the Indian authorities are confident that all rules would be complied with in keeping with Covid-19 appropriate behaviour.

joydeep@khaleejtimes.com





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