Dubai: Airlines in the UAE say they are doing everything they can to help passengers caught in the 90-day temporary US entry ban imposed by President Donald Trump against seven Muslim-majority countries.
Unconfirmed reports suggest as many as 300 passengers around the world have been stranded at airports while in transit after being denied entry to flights bound for the United States because they hold passports from the seven banned countries.
Emirates airline said it has made some changes to its flight crews to accommodate the temporary ban to avoid problems for some crew on flights to America.
“The recent change to the US entry requirements for nationals of seven countries applies to all travellers and flight operations crew. To date, no Emirates crew has been impacted by the change. We have made the necessary adjustments to our crewing, to comply with the latest requirements. Emirates continues to operate flights to the US as scheduled,” an Emirates spokesperson told Gulf News.
Etihad Airways in Abu Dhabi said it is working to help impacted passengers avoid serious problems.
Part of the confusion stemming from the US order is already being addressed in Abu Dhabi given that Abu Dhabi Airports set up a US pre-clearance facility several years ago which clears passengers for US Customs in the UAE capital.
Pre-clearance in the UAE will help avoid anyone who is potentially banned from making the long trans-Atlantic flight to American destinations and then being turned away by customs officials in US cities.
An Etihad Airways spokesperson told Gulf News: “We are continuing to work closely with the US Customs and Border Protection agency both here in Abu Dhabi and in the USA on the immigration issues presented over the weekend. Our joint interest is on ensuring that compliance and the well-being of all passengers is maintained across our global network.
“A number of our passengers have been affected and we are continuing to assist them to identify issues before they fly to the USA. Where permitted, the airline has offered changes or refunds and rebooked passengers, as per our updated policy,” said the spokesperson.
“Our flight crews were unaffected and we have taken steps to ensure there will be no issues for flights departing over the coming weeks. For passengers who are looking for more information, we encourage them to contact the US Consulate or visit the US Customs and Border Protection website. Affected passengers holding tickets to travel on Etihad Airways can contact their booking agent if they require amendments to travel arrangements,” the spokesperson said.