UAE airports, airlines brace for surge as restrictions ease

Vaccinated expats to return through the local airports from August 5.

The UAE airports and airlines are bracing for a major surge in traffic with inbound travel restrictions lifted for restricted countries.

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A major increase in passenger traffic is expected in the coming weeks after the National Emergency Crisis and Disasters Management Authority (NCEMA) allowed vaccinated expats to return to the UAE and also resumed transit travel through the local airports from August 5.

“The Indian subcontinent is a major source market for Dubai’s trade, aviation and tourism sectors and the conditional lifting of restrictions on inbound travellers from the region as well as from Nigeria and Uganda will boost economic activity while enabling thousands of residents to return to their families and work here in the UAE.

“We reopened Terminal 1 and Concourse D just over a month ago in preparation for the seasonal rush of travelers. I am glad to confirm that we are ready to accommodate the anticipated surge in the coming weeks and months,” said Paul Griffiths, CEO of Dubai Airports.

Following months of suspension of flights from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, thousands of UAE residents are stranded abroad and desperate to return to rejoin their families and resume their job.

NCEMA said travel will also resume for transit passengers from all countries from which transit passengers were previously banned, provided that the traveller’s last destination is accepted, and a laboratory PCR test is submitted within 72 hours from the time of departure. The country’s airports will allocate special lounges for transit passengers, while taking all precautionary and preventive measures. “Dubai has successfully spearheaded international efforts to facilitate the social and economic recovery of the world by safely restoring vital international air connectivity and this decision is very much in line with that approach. It’s a great development from both a social and economic standpoint,” Griffiths said.

Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways said it is working to resume flights as soon as possible for eligible guests to travel to the UAE and for transit.

Budget carrier flydubai, while welcoming the lifting of current travel restrictions, said: “We remain committed to providing safe and convenient travel options for our customers. Passengers are advised to regularly check for more information.”

Dubai-based Emirates airline said: “We continue to actively engage with all relevant stakeholders and authorities on the latest health and safety regulations and look forward to welcome all passengers on our flights.”

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