Efforts underway to help in-transit passengers at Dubai airport


dubai international airport, indian consulate, suspension of flights, coronavirus, covid-19

Dubai - Some of the stranded Indian passengers have been stuck at the airport since March 18.

By Dhanusha Gokulan and Anjana Sankar

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Published: Fri 27 Mar 2020, 5:13 PM

Dubai is taking steps to help those passengers who were in transit at the Dubai International Airport when their home countries suddenly stopped inbound flights. Dubai Airports has issued a statement informing that airlines and embassies are now working to send the passengers to their home countries.

"Passengers who are stranded at Dubai International because of the cancellation of their onward flights are being assisted by Dubai Airports' staff by referring them to their airlines and embassies who are working to repatriate them to their home countries," Dubai Airports noted.

Several passengers, including 22 from India, were in transit at the Dubai Airport when India announced the decision to impose a ban on passenger flights. Some of the stranded passengers have been at the airport since March 18.

Passengers of other nationalities have also suffered a similar state since many countries have imposed such bans. Furthermore, UAE has closed all its airports since Monday. The Indian mission said it is presently working with the UAE government to make arrangements for the passengers as India has still not given permission to repatriate them.

"We don't have permission for repatriation of stranded Indian passengers. We are looking at what arrangements can be made for the passengers, and what they can be provided with, in coordination with the UAE government," said Vipul, Consul General of India to Dubai.

Indian passengers continue to wait

Passengers at the airport said they are hanging on hoping the government of India will do something to help them.

Commenting on the conditions of the Indian passengers, Vipul said, "It is limited, but food is available. They are in a challenging situation right now, because their baggage was checked-in and they have no access to their belongings."

The Indian passengers arrived from European destinations such as Lisbon, Budapest, Barcelona and at least 11 passengers arrived from Sydney. A total of seven passengers have been in the airport transit zone for over six days while others checked into hotels at the airport concourse.

"We are really missing our families. We just want to go home," said Deepak Gupta, an Indian passenger.

"We are surviving on meagre food. We don't have enough clothes to change or anything for decent survival," said Ankit Parek, an MBA student from Bangalore.

"Nothing has happened so far. We are still stuck here. We are constantly in touch with the Indian Consulate. We have been asking them for masks, gloves and sanitisers. We are not asking for the Indian government to fly us out immediately. We are okay to endure this. But at least provide us with basic essentials to sleep, to change and have proper food," said Ankit.

Arunkumar Radhakrishnan, who flew from Sydney as his connecting flight to Cochin got cancelled, said: "We were really hoping that by now we would be out of the airport and back home. But nothing seems to be happening and we don't know what to do."

Radhakrishnan said all stranded passengers have undergone medical examinations and we are awaiting results. We are being told that we will be shifted to another hotel. We have also signed a declaration form that said 14 days of quarantine is required as we come from abroad."



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