The United Arab Emirates has restricted Air India from carrying any passengers, whether UAE nationals or non-UAE nationals, from India on repatriation flights under the Vande Bharat mission.
Transportation of passengers — whether UAE nationals or not — to the emirates on the repatriation Vande Bharat Mission (VBM) flights is not allowed, The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has told Air India.
- Passengers from the UAE to India can travel on these flights, as per the established protocol.
The new UAE guidelines will be applicable to all foreign carriers which are operating repatriation flights from the UAE.
- Passengers will need prior approval from the embassy of the United Arab Emirates in New Delhi and the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (MOFAIC) to travel from India to the UAE on these repatriation flights.
The UAE government’s move comes a day after the United States asked India to seek prior approval for all repatriation flights, citing “competitive imbalance”.
- “The U.S. Government (USG) views this situation, in which Indian carriers may perform charters services that U.S. carriers may not, and the resulting competitive imbalance, as inconsistent with U.S. carrier rights under Article 11 and Annex II of the Agreement,” the US government said regarding “restrictive and discriminatory treatment” of the US airlines.
The June 22 order will come into effect after 30 days and as per the order, Air India will have to seek permission from the US, 30 days prior to operating a repatriation flight date and 10 days prior to operating a cargo flight.
- As per the guidelines issued by the General Civil Aviation Authority of United Arab Emirates, dated June 23, transportation of passengers—UAE nationals and non–UAE nationals,) to the UAE on the repatriation flights are not allowed.
- Plus, all passengers will have to undergo quarantine and COVID-19 test requirements as per the preventive and precautionary measures required by the appropriate health authorities, as notified from time to time.
“In view of the foregoing, all passengers including the Indian Nationals who are holding valid Residency Permit / Work Permit of United Arab Emirates and have procured approval of the UAEs Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship – UAE (ICA) of United Arab Emirates or an approval from the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA) applicable to Dubai would need to have specific approval from the Embassy of the United Arab Emirates in New Delhi and their UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (MOFAIC) to travel from India to United Arab Emirates (UAE) on these repatriation flights,” an Air India spokesperson said.
Like India, Dubai has suspended commercial flights to and from the Emirate until the end of the month. The only option is to operate charter and return flights for countries with such restrictions on regular services.
The United Arab Emirates airline has asked the Department of Aviation for the nod to fly crew-only empty planes to India and bring people from here, a well-known person said.
- On Tuesday, the Department of Aviation announced it would review this request from many countries, such as the United States, France and Germany, to launch flights on AI’s VBM lines.
“As we consider further opening in response to demands, we are considering the prospect of individual bilateral bubbles forming, India-United States, India-France, India-Germany, India-United Kingdom. These are all destinations where the demand for travel has not decreased. The final decisions in the negotiations are expected to be made soon, ”the Aviation Ministry said on Tuesday.