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No charges will be made on cancellations for tickets booked till July 21. Image Credit: Shutterstock

Dubai: India’s national carrier Air India on Thursday has announced the extension of its offer for a free date change for cancelled flights from India till July 21, even as it confirmed that entry restrictions to the UAE from India have been extended till then.

“Restrictions are imposed by the UAE Government banning entry into UAE other than [for] UAE nationals and exempted [categories] between 25th April 2021 up to 21st July 2021,” the airline said in an update on its website.

“In view of the same, one free date change to passengers holding confirmed 098 documents for sector India-UAE-India with tickets with travel dates till 21st July 2021, will be allowed to any future date as per the validity of the ticket, except [for] the exempted categories,” the airline stated.

“[The] difference in fare, if applicable, will not be charged. The waiver will not apply to passengers holding one-way ticket on UAE-India sector,” it added.

It is the first time that Air India officially acknowledged the extension of the travel restrictions from India to the UAE till July 21.

Making the last update about an extension of the flight suspension from India to the UAE on June 23, the airline had said the entry restrictions were extended till July 6.

Curtailed schedules

On June 26, the airline said flights to Dubai are being operated with curtailed schedules due to travel restrictions implemented by the UAE government.

“Before planning your travel, please confirm your eligibility for entry into UAE,” Air India told passengers on Twitter.

A senior official clarified that only around 105 passenger flights per week to the UAE are currently operated by Air India and Air India Express as per the curtailed schedules under the air bubble agreement between the two countries.

“Prior to the entry restrictions for passengers from India, we were operating around 150 flights per week during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said P.P Singh, regional manager for Air India and Air India Express.

He said the flights currently operating from India refer to the departure leg of the flights carrying passengers from the UAE to India under the air bubble agreement.

“Those flights can only accept passengers eligible for travel to the UAE under the exempted categories such as UAE nationals, diplomats and Golden and Silver visa holders.”

Circular to travel agents

On Thursday, the airline also issued a circular to travel agents in the UAE announcing about the extension of fee waiver for date change from India to the UAE.

In addition to the above details, the airline told travel agents that booking may be changed to any future date as per availability of the ticket.

“People who have purchased any ticket is eligible for a free date change without paying anything extra if there is a difference in fare,” explained Singh.

No charges will be made on cancellations for tickets booked till July 21.