With a steep rise in Covid-19 cases and deaths in India, the authorities in the UAE had announced on 22nd April their decision to suspend inbound air traffic from India for ten days. However, the operation of ‘chartered flights by businessmen’ was allowed as an exempted category on this travel sector, although it is subject to strict approvals from civil aviation authorities and Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA).
The GCAA further confirmed that UAE nationals, official delegations, diplomats, golden residency visa holders and flights of businessmen are exempt from entry restrictions on inbound passengers in India-UAE flights from 25th April.
Further clarifying on this, a GCAA official who spoke to the media said “The entry of this category of passengers is subject to approvals from MoFA and civil aviation authorities. It could be the use of ‘private jets’ for business purposes, however, the exemption is not meant to be used as a means of mass transport. They have to seek approvals from the airport before landing in the UAE, including providing a list of passengers on board the flights as well.”
The business travellers are, however, not allowed to charter large numbers of passengers from India to the UAE, the official said. Further, the categories of exempted passengers are required to take a PCR test at the airport on the fourth and eighth day after they enter the Emirates and undergo quarantine on arrival.
Airfares from India to the UAE have shot up for flights that are due to resume next month when the suspension is lifted due to pent-up demand and people rushing to return to the UAE.
Since the UAE announced suspension on flights from India for 10 days from 24th April, the airlines of the two countries have kept their bookings open on the India-UAE sector from 5th May, after the stipulated suspension period is complete.
Meanwhile, the Emirates website showed flights from Mumbai to Dubai resuming on 5th May with one-way business class airfare showing Dh.7,170 (Rs.146,000), while the economy class seats were sold out. In the same route, the one-way airfare starts from Dh.1,730 (Rs.35,200) on 6th May, and Dh.2,846 (Rs.57,907) a day later.