Sunday, July 26, 2020

Centre yet to approve flights to GCC

Passengers seeking to fly back to the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) nations will have to wait until the Ministry of Civil Aviation clears a proposal to resume operation of international flights via air travel bubbles reached between each country.
As of now, India has a specific agreement with United Arab Emirates (UAE) among the GCC nations to allow its flights to operate till July 26. This apart, countries such as the U.S., the U.K., France and Germany have made agreements with India. This was after the UAE and others, including the U.S. and the U.K. objected to the monopolisation of Air India in the busy routes.
Sources said that air travel agreements would be based on the easing of travel restrictions in the GCC nations. As of now, only UAE has opened its airports to residents and tourists. However, all passengers arriving in UAE will need a negative COVID-19 PCR test. The new requirement was introduced on July 24 for all airports and will become mandatory from August 1.
Travel restrictions in other nations have not been lifted till now. Bahrain has suspended visa-on-arrivals. However, nationals and residents of Bahrain, nationals of Kuwait, Oman, Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates, and passengers with an e-visa obtained before departure are allowed to enter the country. But passengers will be subjected to medical screening upon arrival and to quarantine for 10 days.
Similarly, flights to Saudi Arabia have been suspended. This does not apply to technical stops, humanitarian, medevac and repatriation flights. These flights are subject to prior approval from its civil aviation authorities.
Passengers are not allowed to enter Qatar except its nationals and residents of Qatar with a permanent residence card. They have to undergo quarantine for 14 days.
Only nationals of Kuwait and their first degree relatives are allowed to enter the country. Also, the ban does not apply to domestic workers if accompanied by a national of Kuwait. But all must have obtained approval from the Kuwait embassy. Flights to Oman have been suspended except repatriation flights.
25/07/20 The Hindu
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