Flight Image Credit: Bloomberg

Dubai: Dubai’s Civil Aviation Authority is working to restore UAE-India passenger numbers to pre-pandemic levels.

“We are working towards that goal; hopefully, we will get back to normal passenger movement, depending on the pandemic situations around the world,” said Mohammed Abdulla Lengawi, Executive Director of Aviation Security and Accident Investigation Sector at Dubai Civil Aviation Authority.

UAE has started issuing tourist visas for fully vaccinated people from all countries as of August 30. The decision, which also applies to India, is expected to bring back one of the world’s busiest air routes.

Stock - Mohammed Abdulla Lengawi, Executive Director of Aviation Security
Mohammed Abdulla Lengawi, Executive Director of Aviation Security and Accident Investigation Sector at Dubai Civil Aviation Authority

The UK-UAE route is also showing signs of revival after UAE was added to UK’s ‘amber list’ last month. This means passengers fully vaccinated (under a UK, US or EU vaccination programme) against COVID-19 no longer have to quarantine on arrival in Britain.

Talks are on for a full normalization of travel between the two countries. “Our daily cases have dropped dramatically- the situation is under control – [and] we believe that this is advantageous to Dubai and might put UAE in the green list in UK,” said Lengawi.

Sharjah, Ras Al Khaimah travel rules

  • Pre-approval for E-visa holders: All passengers arriving in Sharjah and Ras Al Khaimah with a newly issued e-visa must register prior to their departure.
  • UAE residents residing in Abu Dhabi and Al Ain arriving from all other countries: Passengers must visit ICA website before booking a flight to verify their entry status. Take a photocopy of the passport and UAE resident visa. No prior approval is required if resident of Sharjah or any other emirate.
  • PCR and rapid test: Passengers arriving from India, Pakistan, Nepal and Sri Lanka are required to take COVID-19 PCR test, conducted within 48 hours of the flight arrival time. Passengers are also required to conduct a rapid PCR test at the airport prior to departure and will go through another PCR test at the arriving airport. Test results for passengers arriving from Bangladesh, Egypt, Pakistan, Sudan, Lebanon, Sri Lanka, Nepal and India should carry QR code on it.

Passengers arriving from other countries can conduct the test within 72 hours of the flight departure time. All passengers will be re-tested upon arrival. Passengers will be required to present a physical copy of the report at the check-in counter.

UAE nationals and children below 12 years are exempt from the test.

Expo 2020 one-day passes
Flydubai is offering Expo 2020 one-day passes for passengers flying with the budget carrier.

"If you book and fly with us between 01 September 2021 and 31 March 2022, you will be eligible for a complimentary Expo 2020 1-Day Ticket for each passenger in your booking. Use your ticket to visit Expo 2020 on any day you choose," said flydubai on its website.

Emirates airline is also offering complementary Expo 2020 day passes to passengers. Travellers flying with the airline to Dubai between October 1 and March 31, 2022, will get one complimentary Expo 2020 day pass for each person in a booking.

Assured demand

On Wednesday, Air India announced the resumption of flights from Indore to Dubai amid easing of international entry protocols and upsurge in passenger demand. “Overall, Air India has achieved an impressive load factor of over 90 per cent on the UAE-India sectors during the last quarter,” said the airline. “With clear signals that passenger confidence for international travel is returning, the airline is advancing its plans to increase its capacity and services on the UAE-India-UAE network.”

Air India and its low-cost subsidiary Air India express are currently operating 79 flights every week to Dubai. That number stood at 150 before the pandemic. Air India and Air India Express operate 147 flights per week to UAE (including all the emirates) right now, compared to 267 flights before the pandemic.