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Emirates crew onboard wear a protective disposable gown over their uniforms and a safety visor in addition to masks and gloves. COURTESY EMIRATES Image Credit:

Dubai: The UAE is boosting its efforts in the repatriation of expats - for one day only, citizens of Spain and other eligible nationalities will now be able to fly to Madrid.

The capital city of Spain is the latest destination offered by Dubai-based airline Emirates, which is continuously exerting all effort to collaborate with local authorities in the repatriation of expats.

In a statement issued by the Spanish Embassy in Abu Dhabi, it said: “We would like to inform you that Emirates airline has organised a direct flight next Wednesday April 29 from Dubai to Madrid, which will depart at 7.40am. According to the company, the flight was originally for transporting cargo but after receiving details of the number of Spanish expats in the UAE, it decided to open the flight to passengers.”

There are more than more than 8,000 Spanish citizens living in the UAE, according to recent statistics provided by the embassy.

There has not been further updates whether Emirates will offer additional flights to Spain.

Emirates confirmed the operation of the one-way flight to Madrid on April 29, and reminded passengers to arrive three hours before departure at Dubai International Airport to go through the necessary screenings.

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Earlier this week, the UAE’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation said that 11 repatriations were 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 8,720 flew back to Europe while 962 expatriates were repatriated to Central, South, and North America, and the Caribbean.

Emirates is currently operating flights from Dubai to Frankfurt (25, 27, 29 April), Jakarta (26 April), Johannesburg (25 April), Lagos (26 April), London Heathrow (23, 24, 26, 28, 30 April), Madrid (29 April), Manila (24, 28, 30 April), and Tunis (30 April). These services will facilitate residents and visitors wishing to return home. 

Those travelling to Johannesburg, Lagos, and Tunis must contact the respective embassy or consulate for these countries in the UAE. For all other flights, passengers can book directly on emirates.com.

How to book your ticket?

To book your ticket on emirates.com, select the “one-way“ option when you select dates in the booking flow, and then select the date that you want to travel. If you choose a return flight, no available flights will show.

Please note that if a flight is sold out it will show as not applicable. You can check the weekly calendar at the bottom of the page to select the next available date.

Safety precautions

Prior to departure, passengers have been advised to bring a face mask, gloves and practice social distancing. Passengers will also have to undergo thermal screening procedures at the airport.

“Emirates only accepts laptops, handbags, briefcases or baby items as cabin baggage, and you will have to check-in other items. Seats will be pre-assigned following social distancing rules. Online check-in is not available for that reason,” added the airline.