Dubai: Airlines in the UAE are slowly expanding operations to fly Emiratis back into the country and to fly out expatriates who wish to return home, with more passenger flights expected.
The UAE’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation said that 11 repatriations are now in the pipeline for citizens, after 2,286 Emiratis and their companions were repatriated from 43 countries over the past few weeks amid the coronavirus pandemic.
As for expatriates in the UAE, there are 27 repatriations in the pipeline, the Ministry said, with 22,900 foreign citizens having already returned to their home countries. Of those, 9,098 individuals were repatriated to Eastern and Western Africa, while another 8,720 flew back to Europe. In comparison, 962 expatriates were repatriated to Central, South, and North America, and the Caribbean.
On Saturday, Sharjah’s Air Arabia announced a new repatriation flight from Nepal to carry Emiratis back home, and said it is committed to bringing stranded citizens to the UAE and is working with authorities on the matter.
On its website, Air Arabia said it will soon be adding more outbound destinations once approvals are obtained. So far, the carrier is flying from Sharjah to Lar and Shiraz (both in Iran), and Kabul (Afghanistan).
Similarly, Emirates has also recently added flights to carry travelers outbound from the UAE to destinations that include London, Frankfurt, Manila, Algiers, Taipei, and Chicago.
From Abu Dhabi, Etihad Airways said that it will be operating outbound flights throughout April. Destinations already announced include Amsterdam, Brussels, Jakarta, London, Manila, and Frankfurt, among others. The carrier said it is “working closely with authorities to continue these types of operations.”
“Working closely with the UAE Government and Global Aviation Authorities, our aim is to gradually return to a fuller schedule as soon as it is safe for us to do so, but for now, our flights remain suspended until May 1,” Etihad said on its website.
“We’re planning to operate a reduced network from May 1, 2020, which is now available to book [online].”