Dubai: Dubai International Airport’s new system to travel through the facility post-pandemic has gained travellers’ trust. The easing of travel restrictions has resulted in more than 20,000 passengers travelling through the airport every day, with the expectation that the airport will return to normality soon.
Strict measures have been implemented at the world’s busiest international airport to ensure passenger safety in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
According to the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA) in Dubai, by this November, the peak number of travellers passing through the airport will be similar to 2019 figures.
Brigadier Talal Ahmad Al Shanqiti, general director assistant of Ports Affairs at DRFA-Dubai, told Gulf News, that facilitating travel through the airport was essential towards ensuring that the airport returned to normality soon. Passengers can now arrive two to two-and-a-half hours before the flight.
Airport procedures used to take four hours before departure, but the situation is back to normal now.
“Airport procedures used to take four hours before departure, but the situation is back to normal now. Number of travellers has increased from 500 passengers per day during flight restrictions to 20,000 per day by August,” Brig Al Shanqiti told Gulf News in an exclusive interview at the airport.
While the risk of getting infected on an aircraft is typically lower than in a shopping centre or in an office environment, there are simple measures one can follow to further reduce the risk when travelling through airports. Following are excerpts from what Brigadier Al Shanqiti had to share.
Leaving UAE through Dubai Airport
Take a taxi, use the Metro or let a friend drop you at the airport as only travellers with valid tickets are allowed to enter the airport premises.
Comply with social distancing norms as leaving a two-metre distance between travellers is a must inside the airport.
After crossing the airport’s main gate, you will see a vending machine selling personal protective equipment (PPE), in case if you have forgotten to bring your mask, gloves or protective kit for travel.
Wearing masks is a must all the times at the airport.
After you are done with PPE, you need to cross the thermal screening gates.
If your temperature is low, you can travel without a hitch. However, if your temperature is high, an alarm will go off and an employee will check your temperature again with a manual thermometer.
If your temperature is still high, then you need to go to a quarantine area near the thermal screening gates, wait for ten minutes and pass through the check again.
If you still have high temperature, a medical team will arrive to check you again and decide on whether to allow you to travel or not.
When you arrive to the departures area to get your boarding ticket, make sure to leave enough space between travellers.
A plastic barrier has been set up between a traveller and an airline employee at the check-in desks to help protect both from the infection.
Next, you will be at the Passport Control counters for immigration formalities.
If you are an Emirati, a resident or if you are holding a certified passport, you can use the smart gates for a contactless immigration experience and go through smoothly.
If you can’t use the smart gates, then you can always safely use the traditional immigration counters where there is a safety barrier between you and the immigration officer, have your passport stamped and take off your mask to show your face to the officer.
After reaching the Duty Free area, you can safely shop by following the safety signs.
At the seating area near the departure gate, there are barriers between seats and signs to ensure safe distancing between fellow travellers before you finally board the aeroplane.
Arriving at Dubai Airport
If you travelling to Dubai, you need to carry a negative COVID-19 test report.
You need to show it to the Dubai Health Authority employees at the airport on arrival before proceeding to the immigration counters.
Residents need to go through another round of PCR test at the arrival point and download the COVID-19 app to get the result.
Social distancing is important at immigration counter queues as well and so is wearing a mask.
A safety barrier has been placed between the immigration officer and the traveller.
If you have a negative test result, then you can go out without quarantine.
However, if you come up with a positive test result on arrival, then you need to be in self-quarantine for 14 days and do the test again.
You can then go to the baggage carousels to collect your bags, then walk towards the exit gates to take a taxi, a ride on the Metro or be picked up by your friend or relative.