Etihad Bans Non-Citizens From Returning To Abu Dhabi

Earlier today, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) announced its plans to suspend all passenger flights in and out of the country. Now, Etihad has confirmed that, effective immediately, the majority of passengers that are not UAE citizens will not be able to land in Abu Dhabi at all.

Etihad A320
Amid concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic, Etihad has had to put some drastic measures in place. Photo: Getty Images

Important announcement

The airline shared the news of the crucial changes on its Twitter. Ultimately, several passengers are now in an awkward predicament if they were due to pass through the Abu Dhabi hub in the near future. Those due to arrive in the next 24 hours will be the most concerned.

“Effective immediately, passengers departing from international destinations will only be allowed to travel if they are UAE citizens or diplomatic passport holders, and only if their final destination is Abu Dhabi,” Etihad said on its Twitter

“If you are booked on a connecting flight via Abu Dhabi to anywhere else on our network, you will not be able to travel and should not go to the airport.”

Etihad A380
The airline previously announced that it is suspending its Airbus A380s due to the global drop in demand and flight bans. Photo: Getty Images

Harsh implications

Altogether, several citizens not native to the UAE due to enter Abu Dhabi won’t be able to do so. Therefore, those that were supposed to connect to other destinations via the airport with Etihad are now in a rut. 

Emirates has not stated what its current stance is regarding connections in Dubai. Moreover, it is unclear if passengers can still connect in the UAE with the airline or not.

Etihad went on to state that those currently within the country will still be able to depart Abu Dhabi until March 25th. To be precise, they have until 23:59, which is when the flight suspensions will be in place.

Those that have inquiries or need guidance on rebooking options are recommended to visit Emirates’ website. Additionally, cargo services will remain ongoing while the passenger bans are in place.

etihad plane getty images
UAE citizens only constitute around 19 percent of the population of the country. Photo: Getty Images

Yet another change

Earlier today, the group said that despite the suspensions, it offers its full support to the government in its bid to limit the global spread of coronavirus. It says that the safety and good health of its guests are more important than everything else.

Nonetheless, this is yet another step taken during an ongoing saga in the quest to battle against the spread of the virus. Previously, the UAE halted all visas for passengers but now it has taken more drastic measures in its fight.

Simple Flying reached out to Etihad for comment on the announcement but did not hear back before publication. We will update the article with any further details.

What are your thoughts on how the coronavirus outbreak continues to rock the global aviation industry? Have you been affected by any of the changes? Let us know what you think of the situation in the comment section.