The UAE has extended its Indian travel ban once again as cases in the country remain high and with dangerous variants in circulation. Both Emirates and Air India Express have confirmed the extension, which began on April 24th. However, considering this ban is only for one week rather than a fortnight or month, could the UAE be opening its borders to Indians soon? Let’s find out more.
The UAE officially announced its travel ban on April 22nd, with all travelers in India in the last 14 days banned from April 24th. The original ban was only for 10 days, but it has since been extended numerous times due to India’s devastating second wave.
This week saw another extension of the UAE’s travel ban, with travelers barred until at least July 6th. Both Emirates and Air India Express have confirmed that services to the UAE will remain restricted until this date. The news will come as a blow to the thousands of travelers stranded in India and hoping to return.
As cases come down in India, there has been some hope on the horizon for stranded travelers. From a peak of 414,000 cases at the start of May, cases have fallen to just 81,000 on 12th June. This sharp drop could set the stage for countries reopening their borders to India after three months of restrictions.
Notably, the UAE’s travel ban extension has only been for seven days, from June 30th to July 6th. Previously, the extensions were made in increments of 14 days or 30 days, making it clear that services were unlikely to resume soon. Could the short extension mean a border reopening is on the horizon?
It is important not to read too far into the fine print. The UAE could well extend its travel ban for another month until cases in India reach pre-second wave lows. Moreover, the Delta variant has found to be much more transmissible, causing outbreaks in countries like the UK and Singapore as well.
The next step for airlines will be opening up to connecting passengers. Once Emirates and Etihad allow transit passengers once again, travelers can start to hope that the travel ban will be gradually lifted. Similar steps have been taken for travelers from Brazil, another hard-hit, virus variant country. For now, the question of when the travel ban will be lifted remains up in the air.
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Huge blow to airlines
At the start of 2021, routes between the UAE and India were some of the busiest in the world. Indeed, India is Emirates’ busiest market, and Air India Express’s entire business model runs on serving the Middle East. The travel ban is taking a heavy toll on airlines in both countries and many will be eager to see flights resume.
However, until cases fall further and the threat recedes, the ban will remain in place. When that happens is anyone’s guess.
What do you think about the UAE travel ban? Let us know in the comments.