The UAE has extended its flying ban on travelers from India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh until August 1st, in a blow to travelers. Despite reports that the country is trying to gradually lift travel restrictions, the move comes as a surprise. Only a few travelers are currently permitted to fly to the UAE due to the restrictions.
Etihad Airways, the flag carrier of the United Arab Emirates, has confirmed that flights from South Asian countries will not be able to fly until August 1st. Travelers from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka will be affected by the prolongation. South African and Nigerian travel prohibitions have also been extended till the same date.
Only three sorts of travelers are permitted to fly to the UAE under the current laws. UAE citizens, diplomats on official duty, and holders of the golden residency visa fall under this category. Non-nationals on any visa who have spent the previous 14 days in one of the blacklisted countries are unable to enter the UAE.
The announcement would be another setback for the many travelers who have been stranded in South Asia as a result of the restriction. Due to an increase in instances of the highly infectious Delta strain, the UAE barred travelers from India on April 22nd and added the other nations in mid-May. Despite the fact that cases have dropped to a quarter of what they were in the spring, the UAE has maintained its prohibition for the time being.
There will be no reprieve.
Separated families, many of whom returned home to care for loved ones during the second wave in April, and those working in the UAE are most affected by the prohibition. The only way to fly to the nation, for now, is to spend 14 days in a non-banned country, but even vaccinated passengers have few options.
Last month, Dubai offered a ray of light when it announced that it will relax travel restrictions for visitors. From June 23rd, passengers with resident permits from India might enter if they were completely vaccinated and passed three tests. This ruling, however, was never implemented, and the General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) continued to impose limitations as usual.
The prohibition had been slated to expire on July 15th. As a result, there was a lot of anticipation that the UAE might resume flights, and airlines started selling tickets again. The GCAA has maintained that the restriction will remain in effect until July 30th, despite the fact that the deadline has passed.
According to the Khaleej Times, airports throughout India have been prepared for the initial resumption since June 23rd. As part of the UAE's planned standards, 10 international airports already have quick COVID testing labs to process results. However, they have not yet been put to use.
There is no date.
Following the misunderstanding of the previous four weeks, a formal notification from the GCAA is required to affirm the resumption of flights. For the time being, there appears to be no definite date for when services will resume, though thousands are hoping for a return in August.