Social distancing at DXB
Social distancing at DXB Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: Dubai Airports has appealed to family and friends of passengers to help the repatriation operation and the fight against COVID-19 by saying their goodbyes at home and avoid crowding at the airport, even as entry to the airport is being restricted to only ticket holders.

The appeal comes in the wake of the repatriation flights beginning to take off from Dubai International. The first repatriation flight for Indian citizens - Air India Express IX344 - left from Dubai International’s Terminal 2 at 5.45pm last evening, The operation was a smooth take-off, thanks to the coordinated efforts of UAE authorities, the Indian Embassy in the UAE, airlines and other Dubai Airports’ service partners, a statement from Dubai Airports said.

All repatriation flights to India will be operated from Terminal 2 by India’s national carriers Air India and Air India Express until further notice.

Dubai Airports has taken a number of steps to ensure the health and safety of airport staff and passengers during repatriation operations.

Apart from the recently completed deep cleaning and sterilisation exercise spanning the entire facility, social distancing measures including signage, floor stickers and separated seating areas, have been implemented across DXB.

Check-in counters and immigration desks have been fitted with Perspex screens to provide additional safety for staff, who are also required to wear personal protective equipment.

Entry to the terminal is strictly limited to ticketed passengers carrying valid documents and wearing personal protective equipment. As part of the new pre-check-in procedure all passengers will receive thermal screening and/or a rapid antibody test, conducted by Dubai Health Authority’s Airport Medical Centre team.

Passenger flight operations at DXB and Dubai World Central (DWC), with the exception of repatriation flights, remain temporarily suspended since March 24 in aan effort to check the spread of COVID-19.