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Our Correspondent

The UAE has extended restriction on travellers from India until June 14 as of now. The biggest international travel destination for Indian travellers had imposed restrictions from April 25 due to the deadly wave of Covid -19 now sweeping the country.

Dubai-based carrier Emirates announced on its website on May 23 that “Emirates has suspended passenger flights from India until June 14, 2021. Furthermore, passengers who have transited through India in the last 14 days will not be accepted to travel from any other point to the UAE. UAE nationals, holders of UAE Golden Visas and members of diplomatic missions who comply with the revised published COVID-19 protocols will be exempt for travel.”

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More than 20 countries, including Canada, Hong Kong, the US and the UK, have imposed entry restrictions for travellers from India.

The UAE has also barred business jet operators from selling individual seats on charter flights from COVID hotspots. Anyone who has been in India in the last 14 days cannot travel to UAE even via a third country.

The UAE’s General Civil Aviation Authority issued a circular on May 22 restricting operators from pooling or selling per seat, after it became aware of pooling and per-seat selling on chartered jets from India to the UAE. The GCAA added that operators who make per seat offers and sales 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.

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Only families, UAE citizens, diplomats, official delegations, golden residency visa holders, and flights of businessmen can avail charter flights, which cost approximately $40,000.

“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 an earlier circular.

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Many stranded Indian expatriates were also seen travelling to countries such as Bahrain, Armenia and Uzbekistan to quarantine there and return to their jobs and homes in the UAE.

But with Armenia revoking approval on charter passenger aircrafts from India and delaying visas to Indians, and with Bahrain too imposing restrictions, Indian expats are running out of options for a third country to enter the UAE, after doing the 14-day mandatory quarantine.