UAE Suspends Flights From India Amid Rising COVID Cases

Emirates has reportedly suspended flights to India amid a surge of COVID-19 cases in the region. The news comes days after England announced that it would be placing India on its red list. Yesterday around 315,000 new cases of COVID-19 were reported in the country.

Stansted Airport, 30 Years, Terminal Building
Emirates is suspending flights to India for ten days. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying

European airlines are keen to make the most of the upcoming summer season. In Europe, the number of vaccinated individuals is steadily rising following a difficult start. However, elsewhere countries may be facing a tricky start to the summer as they enter new waves of infections.

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India flight ban

Emirates is set to suspend all flights to and from India for an initial period of ten days from Sunday. Commenting on the matter, the airline posted the following notice on its website,

“Effective 24 April 2021 and for the next 10 days, Emirates flights from India to the UAE will be suspended. Furthermore, passengers who have transited through India in the last 14 days will not be accepted to travel from any other point to the UAE.”

However, it seems that it won’t just be Emirates flights that are affected. Reports suggest that the decision to ban travelers from India was made on a government level and will affect all airlines traveling to Dubai from India. Earlier today, Simple Flying explored the possible impact of such a decision, considering that India is the UAE’s largest market in terms of seats flown.

Emirates, IATA Travel Pass, Health Passport
India is the largest market for UAE carriers in terms of seats operated. Photo: Vincenzo Pace – Simple Flying

For now, Emirates’ flight suspension is only valid for ten days. However, it could easily be extended, as is the case with the airline’s current flight suspension to South Africa. When this was first announced, it was due to last just 12 days. However, the South Africa flight suspension has now been in force since January 15th and has been continually extended. As things stand, it is currently in force until May 30th.

One route suspended, another relaunched

While Emirates has suspended flights to India, it announced the relaunch of another route on the same day. From July 2nd, the airline will resume its fifth freedom tag flight from Barcelona to Mexico City.

Emirates operates its fifth freedom Mexico City flight with a two-class Boeing 777-200LR. This has 38 business class seats and 264 economy class seats. While the flight will also carry passengers, Emirates notes that it will carry personal protective equipment and vaccines to Mexico in the belly. Meanwhile, it will move avocados, berries, mangos, automotive parts, and medical supplies in the opposite direction.

Emirates, India, Flight Suspension
The airline is relaunching its fifth freedom service to Mexico City. Photo: Emirates

The flight will offer additional cargo capacity on top of Emirates’ dedicated freighter fleet. Yesterday, Emirates President Sir Tim Clark suggested that the airline would seek to convert some of its older 777s into freighters, commenting,

“To be quite honest, we have a number of 777-300ERs, which are excellent aircraft, as you know, which are coming up to the end of their passenger lives. We’re looking at retaining those and basically converting them into freighters, and they have about a 90-100 tonne capability. A huge volumetric capability so they would fit into our network very well.”

What do you make of Emirates’ India flight suspension? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!