Coronavirus Pandemic

India-UAE travel: 4 Indian businessmen fly to Sharjah on Air Arabia flight

SM Ayaz Zakir
Filed on July 1, 2021


UAE is allowing entry to investor visa holders and their dependents, despite India travel ban since April.

UAE-based Indian businessmen Rashid Abbas along with his compatriots Mohammed Kutty, Farooq, and Noushad were pleasantly surprised to have the entire aircraft to themselves when they recently travelled on an Air Arabia flight from Kozhikode, Kerala, to Sharjah on economy class on Thursday morning (July 1).

“Business, partner and investor visa holders are allowed to enter the UAE if they can produce valid documents,” Rashid told 'Khaleej Times'.

He said that they had registered with the UAE’s General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) and Air Arabia before booking their tickets. He also confirmed that it was not mandatory for the passengers to be administered both doses of a Covid-19 vaccine to get the prior approval to travel back to the UAE.

“We got approval from GCAA and Air Arabia. We produced our Emirates ID, valid visa and passport to the authorities. We booked our ticket after we got the approval, which took around four-five days,” he said.

“The procedure is quite easy. UAE residents, who are stuck in India due to the travel ban since April 24, have no knowledge of this facility provided by the authorities,” he added.

Indians, who are UAE residents and are stuck back home due to the travel ban, are trying to explore various routes to reach their home-away-from home to safeguard their jobs, businesses and career prospects.

They are even ready to cough up an exorbitant price for a one-way ticket to the UAE.

For instance, these businessmen paid Dh8,500 for a one-way ticket.

“We paid Dh8,500 for a one-way ticket to Sharjah. We had another option -- to charter an eight-seater plane from Kozhikode, which cost Dh22,000 for a one-way ticket. But Air Arabia was comparatively cheaper,” he added.

The Kozhikode International Airport (KIA) authorities pulled out all stops to facilitate the passengers’ travel back to the UAE.

“There were only a few people working at the airport. They resumed their duty for just four hours to facilitate our travel,” he said.

Rasheed had returned home to India in March, as his wife delivered a baby.

He said investor visa holders’ dependents are also allowed to enter the UAE, despite the travel ban since April 24 owing to the fresh surge in Covid-19 cases.

They took pictures with the crew members and walked up and down the plane many times during the empty flight.

They produced negative PCR test reports at the Sharjah International Airport and also undertook another Covid-19 test while a tracking device was tied to their hands to keep a tab on them during the mandatory 10-day quarantine at home.

“We also have to undergo two PCR tests on the third and the eighth day of our quarantine,” he added.

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