India-UAE flights: Some airlines flying from Kolkata exempt passengers from rapid PCR test

'It could be a pilot phase for further relaxations,' said one airline executive



by

Ashwani Kumar

Published: Sat 19 Feb 2022, 8:29 PM

Last updated: Sun 20 Feb 2022, 6:29 AM

Passengers travelling on Emirates, flyDubai, Air India and IndiGo via direct flight from Kolkata to Dubai have been exempted from the rapid PCR test requirement at the airport.

Emirates on its website for travel from India noted ‘all cities except Kolkata’ need to have a valid negative PCR test result within 48 hours and another rapid test within six hours of departure.

While the airlines didn’t specify any particular reason for easing the rapid test norm for passengers travelling from Kolkata to Dubai, an executive at an airline said that this could be “a pilot test” for further relaxations.

“The withdrawal of the rapid PCR test within six hours before departure from Kolkata has been introduced in the past few days. It could be a pilot phase for further relaxations,” an executive said.

Echoing similar sentiments, an Abu Dhabi-based travel agent said there is an expectation about easing PCR requirements between countries.

“Following the historic economic agreement on Friday, easing travel requirements is expected. I have received a circular from Air India Express on withdrawal of PCR tests for people who took Covid-19 vaccine in India and are flying home from the UAE. Other Indian airlines are expected to make the announcement soon. Also, the UAE is expected to be added to the Indian exemption list of pre-travel PCR tests,” said Mohammed Irfan, a travel agent.

On February 14, India scrapped the mandatory pre-travel RT-PCR test for passengers arriving from 87 countries. The UAE has not been listed among the countries.

Earlier in the day, Air India Express said in its travel update that passengers who have taken both the doses of Covid-19 vaccination in India are exempted from taking RT-PCR tests prior to their departure to India from the UAE.

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Khaleej Times has learnt that Go First has also offered this new relaxation and IndiGo is set to implement it soon.

Air India Express’ fresh guideline for passengers travelling from the UAE to India, the airline noted the exemption is only for those individuals who have “completed the full vaccination schedule of both doses in India”.


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