Dubai: In an announcement that could reunite several UAE residents stranded in India with their families here during the Eid holidays, Air India Express announced on Thursday that India-UAE flights would resume from Friday till August 15.
The airline on Thursday evening opened bookings for India-UAE flights on the departure leg of the repatriation flights under the Vande Bharat Mission (VBM).
When contacted, P.G. Prageesh, chief of Corporate Communications, AIE, told Gulf News over the phone that the authorities have permitted the airline to open bookings from July 31 to August 15.
“Happy news for passengers to UAE. We are happy to take you to your loved ones. Fly from tomorrow. Bookings are open now,” the airline tweeted at 7.03pm in the UAE.
“Book your tickets on our website through authorised travel agents/ contacting call centre/ visiting city office,” it said in another tweet.
The airline directed customers to visit its blog on India-UAE flights “to find the certified labs, GDRFA/ICA portals, flight schedules and frequently asked questions.”
Air India Express is the first entity to announce the resumption of India-UAE flights after a special flight agreement between the two countries ended on Sunday.
As per the agreement announced by the Indian Ministry of Civil Aviation on July 9, UAE residents stuck in India could return on the departure leg of repatriation flights under VBM that flew home stranded Indians in the UAE from July 12 to 26.
They could also fly back on the return leg of the journey by UAE carriers and private airlines from India providing chartered services for repatriating stranded Indian expatriates during the 15 days of the special agreement.
However, there was no official instruction given to airlines about the extension of the agreement since it ended on Sunday due to which they were unable to sell tickets or fly UAE residents from India since Monday.
Several UAE residents stranded in India have been waiting for the resumption of the flights to return to the UAE to join their families or resume their jobs.
Among the first to react to Thursday’s announcement was Indian expat Supriya, who is stuck in Mumbai. She has been eagerly waiting to fly back with her baby to join her husband in the UAE. She told Gulf News that she had gone to India for her delivery.
“My son is almost seven months old and my husband has so far spent only one day with him. I have got all the approvals and waiting for the airlines to get permission to fly,” she said.