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India’s national carrier Air India has issued an advisory to travel agents, asking for pre-flight registration of passengers from the UAE to India, before arriving at the airport of departure. Image Credit: PTI

Dubai: India’s national carrier Air India has issued an advisory to travel agents regarding pre-flight registration of passengers from the UAE to India and ticket validity of visitors and tourists from India to the UAE.

As per the advisory, a copy of which has been obtained by Gulf News, Indians flying home from the UAE have been asked to complete the pre-departure registration procedures before heading to the airport. All passengers to India are required to register their details under the Air Suvidha initiative, which is available on the website of New Delhi Airport. According to the Indian Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, all travellers to India should submit a self-declaration form on the online portal at least 72 hours before the scheduled travel or physically upon arrival at the respective health counters.

They should also give an undertaking to the Ministry of Civil Aviation in India, through the airlines concerned, before they are allowed to undertake the journey that they would abide by the decision of the appropriate government authority to undergo institutional or home quarantine or self-monitoring of their health for 14 days, as warranted.

Violation of social distancing

Air India has clarified that the advisory to finish these procedures prior to reaching the airport of departure from the UAE was issued to prevent passengers crowding at the airports to do last-minute registration. At least one airport in the UAE has instructed the airlines to ensure passengers finish pre-departure documentation formalities prior to reaching the airport, airline officials said. Passengers crowding to fill up the registration forms at the departure terminals can violate social distancing protocols meant for preventing the spread of COVID-19, they pointed out.

“We have informed the travel agents to convey this message to the passengers. We have also requested them to help blue-collar workers, who may not have a smartphone or internet facility, to complete the online procedure,” said an official. “Specific pre-registration documentation is required to be completed by the passengers prior to departure. All passengers to please complete the pre-registration requirements well in advance (well before arriving in the airport terminal),” the advisory stated.

Return tickets must for visitors

In the same advisory, Air India has reminded passengers visiting Dubai from India on tourist or visit visas about the mandatory requirement to have a valid return ticket to be allowed to fly.

“Indian nationals who are intending to travel to Dubai on visit visa or tourist visa or desire to obtain visa on arrival are permitted to travel only if they are in possession of a valid return ticket. The passengers must be holding valid return tickets and not necessarily a single/conjunction ticket,” the advisory stated.

As reported by Gulf News earlier, the authorities had started strictly enforcing this rule after hundreds of tourists and visitors, mainly from Pakistan and India, were denied entry to Dubai for not following the entry requirements. Several such passengers were sent back to their home countries, following which airlines were asked to stop tourists and visitors from boarding the flights without a valid return ticket.

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“The return or onward tickets of some passengers were being cancelled or refunded by some travel agents soon after the departure of those passengers from India. Due to this, those passengers arrived at their destination airports without valid tickets for return or onward journey. Now all passengers on tourist and visit visas must possess valid return tickets to enter Dubai,” said a source.

AIE statement

Meanwhile, Air India’s low-cost arm Air India Express (AIE) has issued another notice to passengers stating that it would not accept or take responsibility for any onward connection on other carriers. “AIE is a point-to-point carrier and does not have an interline or codeshare agreement with any other airline. Hence, passengers who have booked on our flights shall ensure that they are holding visa and other travel-related documents requisitioned by the destination country,” the statement said.