Chennai airport resumes international flights: airlines restart routes between UAE and Tamil Nadu

Scheduled passenger flights are set to leave for Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah from the south Indian airport

Chennai International Airport is reopening to international flights. Courtesy Wikimedia Commons
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International flights at India's Chennai International Airport have resumed after a four-month suspension.

The airport in the state of Tamil Nadu is the third busiest in the country, but only domestic and repatriation flights have been allowed to operate at Chennai since late March.

Now, the airport will serve international destinations, including Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah, under an air corridor that the Indian authorities have established with the UAE.

As Chennai airport gears up to welcome more international flights, several coronavirus safety measures have been put in place. These include isolation rooms, increased disinfection procedures and social distancing measures.

An Air India flight at Chennai International Airport. Unsplash / David Gladson
An Air India flight at Chennai International Airport. Unsplash / David Gladson

Travellers flying into Chennai will undergo thermal screening, according to guidelines published by the Airports Authority of India (AAI).

Covid-19 testing will be carried out on passengers arriving from Maharashtra, Gujarat and Delhi, with other travellers subject to random testing upon arrival.

Travellers are expected to quarantine for 14 days, and although the Indian government has said those with negative test results will be allowed to quarantine at home, the Tamil Nadu state government still has not announced whether it will follow suit. Any travellers who have left the state for less than 48 hours are exempt from quarantine rules, unless they show symptoms of the virus.

Travellers flying to Chennai must register on the Tamil Nadu state website to obtain an e-pass. This will be checked by airlines before passengers are allowed to board flights.

Travel regulations are changing regularly and the AAI advises all travellers to check each state government's website for updates before flying.

Flights to the UAE

Etihad will resume regular flights between Chennai and Abu Dhabi from September 1. Courtesy Etihad
Etihad will resume regular flights between Chennai and Abu Dhabi from September 1. Courtesy Etihad

From Abu Dhabi, Etihad is currently operating special services to Chennai, but the national airline of the UAE plans to resume regular operations to and from the south Indian city from September 1. All passengers flying with the airline need a negative Covid-19 test result before travelling.

Emirates has operated several repatriation flights to Chennai, but has not released a date for when normal passenger services will resume.

Flydubai looks set to resume its regular flights to Chennai in August according to information from RoutesOnline. The low-cost airline has filed plans to operate three flights a week according to the aviation website. These plans could change, however.

Air Arabia is set to resume flights from Sharjah to Chennai from September 2, and several Indian airlines including Air India Express, GoAir and IndiGo, have announced schedules for flights from Chennai to Dubai, Sharjah or Abu Dhabi.

Etihad plans to resume flights to cities across India

Coronavirus case numbers in the state of Tamil Nadu are still rising, with 5,918 positive test results recorded on August 16. On the same day, two air passengers – one from Malaysia and one from Odisha in east India, tested positive at Chennai.

India has the third highest number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the world, behind only Brazil and the US. The country has experienced more than 50,000 virus-related deaths.