UAE airlines forced to turn passengers away following travel ban

The UAE's major airlines are complying with the guidance provided by US Customs and Border Protection with regards to entry requirements for travel to and from the US.

People gather for a protest at Terminal 4 of the John F. Kennedy (JFK) International Airport after people arriving from Muslim countries were held at the border control as a result of the new immigration policies enacted by US President Donald Trump in New Yor. Justin Lane / EPA
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ABU DHABI // The UAE’s major airlines have had to turn some passengers away due to the new executive order in the United States.

An Emirates spokesman said it continued to comply with the guidance provided by US Customs and Border Protection with regards to entry requirements for travel to and from the US.

“A very small number of our passengers travelling were affected by the new US immigration entry requirements implemented by US Customs and Border Protection on January 28, 2017,” he said. “Where applicable, we are assisting the affected travellers with their flight rebookings. Emirates is offering rebooking and refund options to passengers holding passports from the seven affected nations who are booked to travel to and from the US. Passengers are responsible for ensuring they have the required documents for their travel. Please see our website for more information.”

US Customs and Border Protection issued an “immigration advisory notice” with regards to new US immigration entry requirements affecting people from Sudan, Libya, Somalia, Syria, Iran, Iraq and Yemen.

People from these countries were said to be able to travel to the US only if they are in possession of a permanent resident card, also known as a green card, or the visas A1 and A2, which are for government officials and immediate family; C2, which is for travel to the United Nations; G1 and G2, which are for representatives and employees of international organisations; G3 and G4, which are for representatives and employees of international organisations and Nato.

An Etihad Airways spokesman said: “We are continuing to work closely with US Customs and Border Protection agency both here in Abu Dhabi and in the US on the immigration issues presented over the weekend. Our joint interest is on ensuring that compliance and the wellbeing of all passengers is maintained across our global network.”

He said a number of passengers had been affected. “We are continuing to assist them to identify issues before they fly to the US,” he said. “Where permitted, the airline has offered changes or refunds and rebooked passengers, as per our updated policy. Our flight crews were unaffected and we have taken steps to ensure there will be no issues for flights departing over the coming weeks.

“For passengers who are looking for more information, we encourage them to contact the US Consulate or visit the US Customs and Border Protection website. Affected passengers holding tickets to travel on Etihad Airways can contact their booking agent if they require amendments to travel arrangements.”

cmalek@thenational.ae