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Covid-19: Demand for India air tickets surges as UAE visa amnesty deadline nears

Ashwani Kumar /Abu Dhabi Filed on August 8, 2020 | Last updated on August 8, 2020 at 06.21 am
uae, india flights, covid-19


People continue to throng the ISC in hope of booking tickets before August 10 deadline.

There is an overwhelming demand for Phase-5 air tickets of the UAE-India Vande Bharat Mission. Majority of the people are targeting flights before August 10 - the deadline for expired visit or tourist visa holders to exit the country without paying fine.

Since July 16 when the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship announced the amnesty date, the India Social and Cultural Centre (ISC) Abu Dhabi, where Arabian Travel Agency, the general sales agent of Air India Express is temporarily operating, burst at the seams with 450-500 people seeking tickets. And taking a cue, the schedule of Phase-5 flights was released by Indian authorities.

The surge in number of people continued during the Eid Al Adha holidays. With rising requests for flights, Air India and Air India Express added services to their schedule. Abu Dhabi-Mangalore was extended to Kozhikode, and services added to Hyderabad, Kannur and Bengaluru.

"We continue to receive requests for air tickets before the amnesty deadline. "By Wednesday (August 5), all fights were fully booked," an official with the agency said on Friday, as staff continued to offer service on the weekend.

Re-employed people cancel tickets

However, a few cancellations on booked air tickets have also been registered, with some people finding jobs and some being reinstated in their previous jobs. Therefore, some tickets may still be up for grabs.

"Few people have found jobs and some have been told by their previous employers not to leave," the official added.

Meanwhile, ISC president Yogish Prabhu K noted that Phase-5 has seen more than 500 people visit the centre daily for bookings and enquiries regarding the flights.

"All the necessary Covid-19 measures are being taken care of as per the guidelines of the local authorities. Also, the community police are supporting us in this throughout and ensuring smooth functioning."

The booking counters are open daily at 9am. People are recommended to reach the centre 30 minutes early to avoid crowding and book tickets on a first-come, first-served basis.


Ashwani Kumar

I am a newspaperman from the emirate of Abu Dhabi. A journalist at heart. I get my stories from the streets. A south Indian born in the Hindi heartland, I easily connect with people from different nationalities and cultures. I am calm like a monk, sensitive and very patient reporter. On the ground, I cover a range of topics related to community, health, embassy, tourism, transport, business and sports. I will go out on a leg to do what’s right and stand by what I believe in.

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