Wednesday, May 05, 2021

India-UAE flight suspension: Stranded expats ready to pay Dh16,000 for private jet ticket

Dubai: A day after the UAE government announced an indefinite extension of the suspension of flights from India, the demand for private jet bookings soared, according to agents and operators. Stranded passengers are willing to cough up anything between Dh13,000 and Dh16,000 per ticket just to get back to the UAE.

Since the suspension, several private jets carrying high-net-worth individuals, business professionals, golden visa holders and families have already flown into the country, business jet operators told Khaleej Times. However, these incoming passengers are subject to strict approvals from the General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA). They have not been easy to procure, according to top private jet operators in the UAE. They said the GCAA has also declined several requests for operation.

Ahmed Shajeer, director for commercial at JetzHub, said: “The demand has soared since (Tuesday). However, very few flights have operated between India and the UAE till now. Tomorrow and day after, we have two flights operating from India to the UAE.”

The GCAA, he said, has been “very thorough” in granting approvals. “Honestly, very few flights have landed from India. Private jet aircraft owners and golden visa holders have been coming back without facing any restrictions. However, all other categories of passengers are being considered on a case-by-case basis.”

In some cases, Shajeer said the authorities are also considering applications that may face a potential threat of job loss. Over the last 24 hours, he has received enquiries for operations of at least 10-15 flights from India to the UAE.

Only small private aircraft that can carry anything between eight and 13 passengers are currently being permitted to operate. He explained: “The GCAA has clearly stated that they will not be permitted to charter large commercial aircraft.”

05/05/21 Dhanusha Gokulan/Khaleej Times

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