Air India Restarts Flights From The UAE Amid Confusion Over Eligibility

Amid confusion about travel eligibility to and from the UAE, Air India has announced it will resume flights from Dubai today. The carrier will operate flights from Dubai’s Terminal 1, but there remains no clarity on whether UAE residents can fly from India yet. This is despite Dubai authorities issuing guidelines for travel earlier this week.

Air India Boeing 787
Currently, bookings can only be made for return flights to India, despite the new rules. Photo: Getty Images

One-way

Starting 10:00 AM today, 24th June, Air India is resuming its operations to Dubai. Flights will operate to the newly-reopened Terminal 1 in Dubai. This means travelers can book tickets to return to India if they wish. However, the reverse is currently not true. 

When it comes to inbound travel to Dubai, there has been much confusion. On June 19th, UAE authorities confirmed that travelers from India with residence visas will be allowed to return to Dubai from 23rd June. However, this timeline was never met, with airlines stating that they were not given clearance to carry passengers to Dubai. Instead, yesterday, passengers were left stranded.

Air India Restarts Flights From The UAE Amid Confusion Over Eligibility
Emirates is yet to confirm its flight schedule and travel requirements. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying

Air India and Air India Express have said that the ban on Indian travelers remains in effect until July 6th, as previously announced. This means no airline is currently selling tickets on flights from India to Dubai. The earliest date for a resumption seems to be June 26th, when Air India is offering flights from Delhi to Dubai. However, it’s unclear if these will ever operate given the confusion over entry requirements.

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Limbo

The news of Dubai allowing Indian residents to return was a relief to thousands who have been stuck in India since April. Even as the second wave slowly recedes, the UAE added strict health checks to prevent new variants of COVID-19 from entering the country.

Once travel actually resumes, residents will need to be fully vaccinated, take three COVID-19 tests in total, and spend a day in quarantine. Only if all tests come back negative can travelers step out of quarantine and return to their home in Dubai.

IndiGo A320neo
No airlines are currently selling one-way tickets from India to Dubai. Photo: Airbus

However, the lack of permission for airlines means that many are still stuck in limbo. The next few days will likely clarify when carriers can actually begin carrying passengers to Dubai once again. For now, keep an eye out for further announcements from airlines regarding the issue.

Bouncing back

After two brutal months, cases in India have finally begun falling. Wednesday saw just 54,000 cases, down from a peak of 400,000. While there are still some ways to go before declaring the second wave over, travel will likely begin bouncing back. Indeed, domestic traffic has doubled over the last month as passenger confidence returns.

International traffic still has some ways to go before recovering. Bans on travelers from India remain in place, meaning few can even travel abroad. However, the UAE’s reopening signals that more countries will slowly begin reopening their borders to Indian travelers soon.

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