Etihad adds Melbourne and Amsterdam to list of special repatriation flights

Etihad and Emirates airline resumed a limited schedule of flights earlier this week

Etihad Airways have added Melbourne and Amsterdam to its list of special repatriation flights.

Etihad and Emirates announced on Friday, April 3 that they would be restarting a limited schedule of flights to several destinations, as a special service to repatriate citizens of foreign countries.

However, the General Civil Aviation Authority said that Etihad and Emirates’ services were not commercial flights, but special flights “for the purpose of evacuating residents and visitors who wish to leave the country and return to their country”.

The GCAA confirmed the suspension of passenger and transit flights were still in effect.

Etihad now operates a “regular service” to several destinations, which started with Seoul, and later was expanded to include Singapore, Manila, and Jakarta.

The new destinations of Melbourne and Amsterdam would be added immediately.

Flights to Melbourne would be offered five times a week, from Monday to Friday, and the flights to Amsterdam would be offered four times a week, on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday.

The flights are one-way only, and on return journeys the airlines have been repatriating Emirati citizens stuck abroad, and bringing in fresh produce and cargo.

Etihad's website confirms that all standard passenger flights are suspended until Tuesday, April 21.

However, the airline had been granted permission to continue to operate several repatriation flights after the grounding of all commercial flights two weeks ago.

Australians in the UAE who had been trying to travel back home were able to leave on an Etihad evacuation flight on Thursday, April 2.

The country also extended its suspension of entry for UAE residency visa holders for another two weeks.

Residents were banned from re-entering the UAE two weeks ago in a bid to stop the spread of coronavirus.

For more information on ticket prices and booking the repatriation flights, check out our guide here.