Coronavirus: 32 British citizens leave UAE on flydubai flight

The British Embassy said it was working to help more tourists get home on charter services

Thirty two British passengers boarded a flydubai flight on Saturday to Zagreb, Croatia. The passengers will then make their onward journey to the UK. Courtesy: Reuters
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Latest: German and US tourists flown home on special flights

British tourists who were stranded in Dubai when flights were grounded last week began their journey home on Saturday.

The British Embassy said 32 travellers left the UAE when a flydubai flight was given special permission to depart for Zagreb in Croatia. It is understood other European tourists were also on board.

A connecting flight to London Heathrow was due to depart Zagreb later.

"32 Brits left the UAE on @flydubai this am. The airports are closed but some airlines are being granted permission for departures," the embassy said in a tweet.

"We are working with the UAE government and airlines to progress all options to get you home.”

When border restrictions were enforced last week to slow the spread of Covid-19, many passengers were left with no way to travel home.

Among them were travellers stuck in the transit area of Dubai International, who were unable to enter the country.

Patrick Moody, British Ambassador to the UAE, said officials were working to help passengers affected by flight suspensions.

"Many of you are awaiting refunds following the cancellation of flights. My team are speaking to airlines to emphasise how urgent this is," he said.

"If you are in the UAE longer than expected and experiencing issues as a result. Call us on 02 610 1100, 24/7."

He urged tourists not to head to an airport without a confirmed flight booking.

When contacted, a UK Foreign Office spokesperson said: “We recognise British tourists abroad are finding it difficult to return to the UK because of  the unprecedented international travel and domestic restrictions that  are being introduced  around the world – often with very little or no notice.

“The FCO is working around the clock to support British travelers in this situation to allow them to come back to the UK. The Government is seeking to keep key transit routes open as long as possible and is in touch with international partners and the airline industry to make this happen. Consular staff are supporting those with urgent need while providing travel advice and support to those still abroad.”