Dubai: As expected, airline bookings to the UK have received an immediate boost after Britain announced further easing of restrictions for travellers from UAE.
“We will be accepting UAE vaccination certificates from 4th Oct following updates to their vaccination app,” said British Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said on Twitter.
This step will effectively re-start travel between UAE and UK ahead of the Expo. Although UAE was upgraded to the ‘amber’ list from ‘red’ last month, only passengers vaccinated under the UK, US and EU vaccinations programmes are allowed.
“We are getting a good number of bookings from UK to come to the UAE,” said a spokesperson for Bin Moosa travel agency. “We are also getting enquiries from passengers looking to go to UK via the UAE.”
US opens up too
The US will re-open to passengers from India, China, Britain and other European countries and who have received COVID-19 vaccines in early November. While direct flights from UAE to US have been operational for a while, the latest move will boost passenger numbers at long-haul carriers like Emirates airline.
“Forward bookings to the US have always been strong from many of our key markets, and we expect them to rise as we approach the winter period,” said an Emirates spokesperson. “Booking behaviour has changed, not surprisingly, with more people making short-lead decisions closer to their date of travel because of the dynamic changes to travel requirements that continue to prevail in many countries.”
Starting next month, Emirates plans to operate 78 weekly flights to 12 destinations in the US. By early December, it expects to restore more than 90 per cent of its pre-Covid flight frequencies to the country, with daily flights to Boston, Dallas, Houston, San Francisco, Seattle and Washington DC in addition to double daily flights to New York.
"There has also been a growing interest from US travellers to visit Dubai, a city that offers something for everyone and will be hosting a number of major events," Emirates added in a statement.
If fully vaccinated:
• If vaccinated in the UAE, UK, the US or as part of the UK vaccine programme overseas, the traveller must have received the final dose of Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna or Astrazeneca at least 14 days before arriving in the UK.
• Book and pay for a day two COVID-19 test – to be taken after arrival in England.
• Complete the passenger locator form – any time in the 48 hours before arrival in England.
• Take a COVID-19 test on or before day two on arrival in England.
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) welcomed the decision by the Joe Biden Administration to enable vaccinated travelers to enter the US with a negative COVID-19 test result. “Allowing access to the US for those vaccinated will open travel to the US for many who have been locked out for the past 18 months - this is excellent news for families and loved ones who have suffered through the heartache and loneliness of separation,” said Willie Walsh, IATA’s Director-General, in a statement.
“This announcement marks a key shift in managing the risks of COVID-19 from blanket considerations at the national level to assessment of individual risk. The next challenge is finding a system to manage the risks for travelers who do not have access to vaccinations.”
• Quarantine at home or in the place of staying for 10 days after arriving in England. If travelling from anywhere else and not been fully vaccinated or do not meet the vaccination requirements above, the traveler must:
• Book and pay for Day 2 and Day 8 COVID-19 tests to be taken after arrival in England.
• Complete the passenger locator form – any time in the 48 hours before arriving in England.
• Quarantine at home or in the place of stay for 10 days. The need to quarantine can be ended earlier if the individual pays for a private COVID-19 test through the ‘Test to Release’ scheme.
• Take a COVID-19 test on or before Day 2 and on or after Day 8.