Stranded UAE residents can now return on Emirates, Etihad flights from these 17 cities

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People walk on the Pincio Terrace at Villa Borghese park, in central Rome on May 17, 2020, during the country's lockdown aimed at curbing the spread of the COVID-19 infection, caused by the novel coronavirus. (Photo by Andreas SOLARO / AFP)

The UAE residents, who are currently stranded abroad and holding valid residence visa, can now return to the country from 17 cities across Europe, Asia, Australia, the US and Canada.

Etihad is operating inbound passenger flights from Amsterdam, Barcelona, Frankfurt, Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur, London, Manila, Melbourne, Seoul, Singapore, Tokyo and Toronto.

The Abu Dhabi-based airline has been operating scheduled flights since May 9 and will continue its operations till May 30.

Dubai-based Emirates will also be returning to the skies with its scheduled flights this week. Residents and citizens of the UAE can book flights to and from Chicago, Frankfurt, London Heathrow, Madrid, Melbourne, Milan, Paris, Sydney and Toronto between May 21 and June 30.

In addition to UAE carriers, Lufthansa has also announced scheduled flights to 106 destinations from June. It intends to resume Frankfurt-Dubai flight from June 7.

All these flights are subject to government approval and removal of restrictions on international travel.

Sources said the local airlines are uncertain about resuming scheduled flights to the Indian subcontinent due to travel restrictions on international travel in India, Pakistan and other regional countries for foreign airlines. However, the airlines are hoping that the situation will get better in the next one month or so to resume flights at a smaller scale to the subcontinent.

Who is eligible?

The local airlines said residents returning to the UAE must hold a valid residence visa as well as Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship (ICA) number in order to be accepted for travel to the UAE.

The ICA number can be obtained through Twajudi service of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation via email. The number must be provided to the UAE airlines at the time of booking for inbound flight.

What to expect on arrival?

The UAE airlines said stringent entry restrictions are in place for passengers upon arrival at the airports. At Dubai International Airport, passengers will have to undertake a mandatory Covid-19 test by Dubai Health Authority (DHA) on arrival followed by a mandatory 14-day quarantine and then a follow-up test before release.

According to DHA, around 14 hotels are being managed by the private healthcare sector as isolation and quarantine facilities in the emirate, while four hotels are being managed by the authority.

“Covid-19 flight and travel restrictions remain in place across many countries around the world. We are closely monitoring the situation as it evolves, and we hope to resume services as soon as conditions allow. This includes receiving government approvals, the easing of travel restrictions, and commercial demand,” said Emirates, the world’s largest international carrier.

The inbound travellers must also bring face masks, hand gloves and abide by social distancing rules.

In Abu Dhabi, Etihad said all passengers will undertake thermal and diagnostic or PCR test on arrival in Abu Dhabi and are required to self-isolate for 14 days.

In addition, passengers will be asked to wait two-metre apart from other guests at all queuing points upon arrival.

One-off flights to Toronto, Belgrade

Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways on Sunday announced two additional flights, allowing UAE residents and citizens to book flights to and from the UAE.

The airline will operate one-off service from Abu Dhabi to Toronto, departing at 10am on May 21 and returning the next day. It will also operate one-off service to Belgrade. The flight will depart at 8.30am on May 21 and return from Belgrade to Abu Dhabi at 14.05 on May 21.