Dubai-London air corridor ready to go once approved, Dubai Airports chief says

Dubai Airports in talks with other countries to open travel corridors that allow easier trips between two cities in an effort to spur demand amid the Covid-19 crisis

FILE - In this Dec. 11, 2019 file photo, an Emirates jetliner comes in for landing at Dubai International Airport in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. The airport is getting busier but it’s a long way from what it once was amid the coronavirus pandemic. To boost those numbers, airport CEO Paul Griffiths is urging countries to move away from mandatory quarantines on arriving passengers and toward the strategy embraced by Dubai. That includes aggressive coronavirus testing before departure, followed by mandatory mask-wearing on aircraft. (AP Photo/Jon Gambrell, File)
Powered by automated translation

Plans for a Dubai-London air travel corridor are ready and are awaiting sign-off by governments before they can be implemented, Dubai Airports' chief said.

The airports and carriers agreed on the testing and quarantine requirements on both ends but whether the plans move forward depends on how leaders choose to strike a balance between spurring economic growth and controlling the Covid-19 infection rate, Paul Griffiths, chief executive officer of Dubai Airports, said in an interview with Bloomberg TV on Tuesday.

Reviving demand for air travel is “an essential part of the kick-start of the global economy", Mr Griffiths said.

Besides the plan with the UK, the airport operator is also in discussions around the world to secure travel corridors with other destinations in a bid to ease travel and spur demand.

Annual passenger traffic at Dubai International Airport, the busiest hub by international traffic before the pandemic, could fall as much as 70 per cent as a result of the Covid-19 crisis, Mr Griffiths told Reuters. The airport is handling around one million monthly passengers - higher than it had forecast.

A lack of unified standards and coordination between countries on Covid-19 testing is complicating the travel and tourism industry's recovery. Airlines face a bleak winter season that will stretch their cash reserves and test their survival amid resurging waves of Covid-19 infections in many nations.

The International Air Transport Association, an industry body representing some 280 airlines, urged governments to adopt Covid-19 testing prior to flight departures and to lift travel restrictions such as quarantine measures that are hurting travel demand. Last month, Iata cut its forecast for global passenger traffic, forecasting a decline of 66 per cent this year due to coronavirus-related travel restrictions.