UAE updates regulations on India flight suspension

Regulators issue directive which comes into effect from Saturday night

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Latest: Indian expats scramble to return to UAE ahead of midnight flight suspension

The UAE has clarified and updated its announcement on the suspension of flights from India starting Saturday midnight.

The National Emergency Crisis and Disaster Management Authority (NCEMA) said the decision included all national and overseas airlines.

The ruling did not include transit flights coming into the country and bound for India.

The authority confirmed that UAE citizens, diplomatic missions between the two countries, official delegations, business planes and golden residency holders are excluded from this decision.

"Those coming from India through other countries are required to have a period of stay in those countries of not less than 14 days in order to be allowed to enter the country, starting from 23:59pm on Saturday, April 24, for a period of 10 days, which can be extended with the continuation of cargo flights between the two countries," NCEMA said on Twitter.

The authority clarified that airlines would continue to operate flights between the two nations.

“Flights between the two countries will continue to operate allowing the transportation of passengers from the UAE to India. It will also allow the transfer of exempted groups from India to the UAE with the application of the precautionary measures,” Ncema said.

Diplomats, UAE citizens and those with golden visas and on chartered business flights must take a PCR test at the airport as well as on the fourth and eighth day after they enter the Emirates.

On Friday, India posted the world’s biggest one-day jump in confirmed coronavirus infections for the second consecutive day, with almost 332,730 new daily cases.

The country also recorded 2,263 deaths in the last 24 hours.

Daily numbers are believed to be a huge underestimate of the actual count, which could be substantially higher due to limited testing.

The surge is believed to be fuelled by complacency and a new variant of the virus, which doctors say is spreading faster than previous strains.

The ban came days after Dubai updated PCR testing rules for travellers from India, requiring a negative test result no more than 48 hours before travel.

The UAE-India airline corridor is one of the busiest in the world.

UK-based aviation data firm OAG calculated airlines flew almost 1.2 million seats between the two countries in March, making it the second-largest market in the world after Mexico-US.

Around 300 flights a week were operating between the UAE and India before the ban was announced.

That made it the largest of the 27 air bubble arrangements India had in place, Indian Ambassador to the UAE, Pavan Kapoor, said.