Sunday, May 23, 2021

India-UAE flights: Operators face GCAA ban for pooling seats on charter jets

Dubai: After becoming aware of pooling and per seat selling on chartered jets from India to the UAE, the GCAA issue a circular on Friday, saying operators hired for pooling or ‘per seat offer’ will be banned from operating in the UAE.

The GCAA is collecting all the information required from local authorities to verify flight and passenger information.

Passenger entry from India to the UAE, one of the world’s busiest air corridors, was suspended on April 25 as Covid-19 cases in India reached record highs. The only exemptions were UAE citizens, diplomats, official delegations, golden residency visa holders, and flights of businessmen.

Since then, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka have been added to the list, in addition to Nigeria and South Africa.

“When business and charter aircraft are used for all above states, requirement No.0 of safety decision 2021-22 shall be adhered to and shall include aircraft passenger configuration with number of passengers on board,” the GCAA said in the circular, a copy of which Khaleej Times has seen.

“When business aircraft are used to transport passengers from restricted destinations, they shall not be pooled or sold per seat. Operators hired for pooling or ‘per seat offer’ may be banned from operation in the UAE. GCAA is collecting all information required from local authorities to verify flight and passenger information,” the circular added.

In a previous circular issued earlier this month, the GCAA had clarified that no more than eight passengers will be allowed onboard these charter jets.

“Depending on the size of the aircraft, business jets can accommodate anything between six to 35 passengers. However, irrespective of the size of the charter, the requirements for business aircraft or small-body private jets clearly state that the number of passengers on board a flight cannot be more than eight passengers,” the GCAA had said in the circular.

Only crew (including flight and ground crew), UAE citizens; UAE long-term residence visa holders (also named golden visa) holding a valid PCR test, diplomatic personnel holding a valid PCR test; any official delegations’ personnel holding a valid PCR test; and any person holding a valid PCR test and transported on a business aircraft are allowed to enter the UAE.

Passengers who have been in India in the 14 days preceding their flight to UAE and are intending to arrive in the UAE via direct or indirect flight will not be allowed to enter UAE, the GCAA had stated.

22/05/21 James Jose/Khaleej Times

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