Tuesday, July 28, 2020

UAE and India extend special flights for another week

Talks are under way over the return of regular flights between India and the UAE, after a 15-day travel window was extended to allow stranded Indian residents back to the Emirates.

The UAE General Civil Aviation Authority said an update would be given to the public once discussions were completed. A 15-day travel pact allowing flights between India and the UAE ended on Sunday.

Pavan Kapoor, India’s ambassador to the UAE, said flights will continue for another seven days while a new agreement was worked out.

“It has been extended at least for another week,” Mr Kapoor told The National.

“The idea is that we keep it going, so time has been given while we come to an agreement for the way forward.”

The air corridor, once announced, would not cover transit passengers and will be restricted to people whose final destination was either the UAE or India.

Once the air corridor starts, I’m hoping more people can get back to their lives in the UAE

Bookings opened on Monday for flights from the UAE to India – as part of the fifth phase of the Vande Bharat or Salute India government-led mission.

More than 100 repatriation flights will take Indian citizens home from the Emirates between August 1 to 15.

About 75 flights will operate from Dubai and Sharjah and 30 services from Abu Dhabi. Destinations include Delhi, Chennai, Mumbai, Jaipur, Amritsar, Kozhikode, Kannur and Kochi.

Air India Express said Indian citizens registered with the diplomatic missions in Dubai and Abu Dhabi were able to book via the airline’s website or through registered UAE travel agents from Monday.

Close to 210,000 Indians have been repatriated from the UAE since May 7.

An estimated 10,000 have travelled back to the Emirates over the past few weeks with double that number hoping to return.
27/07/20 Ramola Talwar Badam/National
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