Air Arabia, Emirates bring back 168 passengers on first day of flight resumption between India, UAE - GulfToday

Air Arabia, Emirates bring back 168 passengers on first day of flight resumption between India, UAE

An Emirates Airlines plane parked at the Cochin International Airport on Thursday. Ashraf Padanna

AM Abdussalam and Ashraf Padanna, Correspondent

Ending weeks of uncertainty, flights from Kerala to the UAE resumed on Thursday following lifting of ban on entry of passengers from India and five other countries starting from Aug.5, much to the relief of thousands of expatriates from the state.

Passengers travelling from countries where flights had been banned were allowed to transit through UAE airports from Aug.5 as long as they present a negative PCR test taken 72 hours prior to departure.

Those who are employed in the health, education and government sectors in the UAE as well as students and those who need to complete a course of treatment too could travel to Dubai without getting vaccinated.

On Thursday, 168 passengers departed from the Cochin International Airport for the Emirates.

Passengers wait in the departure area of the Cochin Airport. Ashraf Padanna

Air Arabia flight G9-426 departed to Sharjah at 3:50am with 69 passengers while the Emirates operated EK531 took off for Dubai with 99 passengers at 10:30am.

As per the schedules, Air Arabia will be operating two regular daily flights (G9 421/422 SHJ-COK-SHJ 1530/1640 and G9 427/428 SHJ-COK-SHJ 1840/1920) in Sharjah Sector from Aug.7 while Emirates operates a daily flight (EK 530/531 DXB 0844/1030 in Dubai Sector.

According to the airport authorities, discussions with both the UAE and Indian carriers have been initiated to schedule more departures in the coming days.

CIAL said that it expects airlines such as Fly Dubai, Etihad, Air India Express, Indigo and Spice Jet to start operations to UAE soon.

At the airport, the travellers were asked to produce papers such as a permission letter from the UAE Emigration Department, a document proving the administration of two jabs from the UAE itself and certificates showing negative COVID-19 PCR test results with 48 hours validity and proof of a Rapid PCR test at the departure lounge.

Only those expatriates who have stayed in India for less than six months are allowed to fly back to the UAE.

According to reliable sources, relaxations on these restrictions are expected soon.

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