Dubai-based airline Emirates is phasing in one-way flights to select destinations this month. On 30th April, the carrier announced that travelers in the UAE would be able to book themselves on repatriation flights to five international destinations. The UAE remains in lockdown with no incoming flights.
As of today, Emirates will begin offering repatriation services for passengers looking to return home from the UAE. The airline will be laying on flights between 2nd May and 16th May to five international destinations.
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On Emirates’ website in a press release, the airline said the following:
“Only citizens of the destination countries and those who meet the entry requirements of the destination will be allowed to board.”
Entry rules in many countries are rather strict at the moment. On 28th March 2020, Mainland China banned entry to foreign nationals or residency permit holders. Brazil currently prohibits the entry of anyone who is not a Brazilian citizen, residency holder, an immediate family member of a Brazilian national. Similar rules apply in Germany and the Philippines.Advertisement:
Although many international travelers will have returned home, fears have grown for the UAE’s migrant population. Many nationalities, particularly Filipinos, support the country’s retail sector. Out of work, these workers are likely now looking to return to their families.
Emirates had been looking forward to reinstating flights this month. It had initially hoped that flights would resume at the end of May. However, that has now been pushed back to 1st July.
Regardless of the date, a return to normal comes with the need to observe strict measures. For this reason, Emirates is continuing to rely heavily on the use of face masks, social distancing, and disinfectant.Advertisement:
Its repatriation flights in May will have pre-allocated seating where possible to minimize the contact between passengers. In addition, travelers will be required to wear their own face masks at the airport and on board the aircraft. Furthermore, the airline is maintaining its ban on most cabin baggage to curb the transmission of the virus.
Despite high hopes, there is still a long way to go before Emirates can return to its modus operandi. For one, the UAE’s travel restrictions are still very tight. Although some restaurants are opening in the country’s cities, like Dubai, it is being done with caution. The country is still restricting the entry of non-Emiratis into the UAE.
Speaking to the Telegraph, the Director-General of the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing in Dubai, Helal Al Marri said:
“July would be the time we start to see the air open up.”
But that, of course, depends a lot on how other countries respond to reopening their own borders. Even if Emirates and the UAE are ready to accept travelers in July, it may have to wait even longer.