UAE flag carrier Emirates and Etihad have confirmed that flights from India will remain restricted through July. The ban has been extended until August 2nd, dashing any hopes of relaxation this month. For now, flights to the UAE remain nearly empty but continue to operate with cargo and outbound passengers.
The UAE’s travel ban has been extended one more time. All travelers who have been in India over the last 14 days (including transit) are banned from flying to the UAE until 2nd August at the earliest. The guidance comes after Etihad announced last week that flights will remain restricted until August 1st.
The extension will add to the frustration of thousands of expatriates who are stranded or unable to fly back to India due to the ban. The issue of separated families has also been at the fore of the discussion, with scores of families kept apart due to the restrictions. India and neighboring countries Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh all fall under the restrictions.
The only passengers currently allowed to fly are UAE citizens, diplomats on official duty, and holders of the Golden residency visa. This is a small list, which has led to multiple stories of airlines carrying one passenger in total. Overall, flight loads out of India are dismal due to the restrictions, with airlines only continuing routes due to cargo and outbound passengers.
While the flight been has been extended once again, there is no news about any relaxation for UAE residents. In June, Dubai authorities announced that residents could return if they were fully vaccinated and took three tests. This plan was set to go into effect fom 23rd June but never did so, leaving residents stuck again.
The UAE has not signaled that it will be restarting flights in the short-term, with an extension beyond August 2nd likely. This will be bad news for UAE airlines, for whom the Indian market is usually the largest. However, with cases still high in both countries, restrictions are still seen as vital, despite rigorous testing and vaccinations.
While Indian airlines are feeling the pressure from a lack of UAE flights, they have relied more heavily on the rebounding domestic market. International flights remain a low priority for airlines as restrictions make demand negligible in the near future.
The only way to enter the UAE is a costly and lengthy one. Passengers must spend 14 days in a non-banned country outside India before flying into the country. As Europe and other countries slowly open to Indian travelers, this might be feasible for a small number of determined passengers willing to pay up. For now, there seems to be no timeline for when flights between the countries will resume.
What do you think about UAE’s continuing flight ban from India? Let us know in the comments!