India-UAE flights to remain suspended until further notice, GCAA clarifies

Dubai - Certain media reports are citing a Notice to Airmen (Notam), which lists July 21 as the date for 'end of travel restrictions'.


Dhanusha Gokulan

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Published: Sun 27 Jun 2021, 2:09 AM

Passengers from India to the UAE may have to wait longer as inbound travel has been suspended until further notice, a General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) official clarified. The status quo remains, keeping in mind health and safety protocols of all parties involved.

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“As far as inbound passenger traffic from India is concerned, the status quo remains. We are closely monitoring the situation in India, and a decision on when to lift the suspension on inbound travellers will be taken, keeping in mind the safety and security of all parties involved,” the official stated.

“There are no new developments on this front,” the official told Khaleej Times on Thursday.

While airlines have made seats available on aircrafts from various cities in India on their websites, from July 7 and 8 in some cases, it is not immediately clear if the dates signify the end of the inbound passenger suspension either.

Certain media reports are citing a Notice to Airmen (Notam) that was issued by the civil aviation authority which signifies the 'end of travel restrictions period on July 21’.

However, airline sources and GCAA have said a Notam summary is issued almost every day by civil aviation authorities. “As per aviation parlance, Notams must have a start date and an end date for the period during which a certain set of rules apply,” an airline source explained to Khaleej Times. “They can be changed at any time,” the source added.

A copy of the Notam, which Khaleej Times has seen, also lists the extension of suspension to 13 other countries — including Liberia, Namibia, Sierra Leone, Democratic Republic Of Congo, Uganda, Zambia, Vietnam, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Nigeria and South Africa.

However, airline authorities have said the date specified in the Notam does not signify the end of the travel suspension.

Suspension of inbound passengers from India was first announced by the National Emergency Crisis and Disasters Management Authority (NCEMA) and GCAA on April 24 for an extendable period of 10 days. Following this, authorities said on May 5 that the suspension of entry of travellers from India would be indefinite, and the decision remains.

On June 19, the Dubai Supreme Committee of Crisis and Disaster Management announced fresh protocols, permitting the safe resumption of travel from India to Dubai on June 23. However, flight operations are yet to resume.

Furthermore, Dubai’s flagship carrier Emirates Airlines informed its passengers on social media that flights from India to Dubai remain suspended at present. In response to tweets from passengers, Emirates Airlines said the situation is "dynamic", and any change in travel protocols and guidelines would be updated immediately.

“At the moment, our flights from India are available July 7 onwards,” the airline tweeted to one passenger on Saturday.

In the meanwhile, India has urged countries that had snapped travel links with it to resume flights, Arindam Bagchi, spokesman of the external affairs ministry, said on Thursday.

Initial talks have started with other countries and the government has given top priority to this move, which will be pursued over the coming days, he added. “We have taken some initial steps in this regard,” he said. “The government will continue to prioritise this issue.”

As NCEMA has stated earlier, flights between the two countries will continue to allow passengers from the UAE to India and the transfer of exempted groups from India to the UAE who have applied for exemption. Exempted travellers, including UAE citizens, those on diplomatic missions accredited by the two countries, official delegations, those travelling on business planes, and golden or silver residence holders, can travel between both nations.

However, they will be subject to preventive measures, including a 10-day quarantine and PCR testing at the airport and on the fourth and eighth days after entering the country, said GCAA.

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Photo: AFP
Photo: AFP

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