India’s two biggest airports Mumbai and Hyderabad are gearing up to deal with a lot of UAE-bound passengers when flight restrictions are going to be lifted later this month.
It may be noted that the General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) of UAE has issued a NOTAM (Notice Issued to Airmen) and said that the flights from India and 13 other countries will remain suspended until 23:59 hrs. of July 21, 2021.
The decision comes after the UAE announced new rules for travel and said all passengers must take a rapid PCR test 4 hours prior to the flight departure.
Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport (CSMIA) has PCR testing facilities that can give results in just 13 minutes. “We have been upgrading the facilities at our end for the convenience of the passengers,” said a spokesperson.
The major reason behind the delay in the opening of flights from India to the UAE is the lack of adequate PCR-testing facilities at Indian airports.
The Gulf country was targeting June 23 to let in UAE residents stuck in India, and one of the requirements for travel was a rapid PCR test four hours prior to departure.
“We also have a lab right inside the airport to help the passengers get the report at the earliest,” said the CSMIA spokesperson. “We already have the facilities at the departures as well as the arrivals and we have ample counters to meet requirements.”
Hyderabad Airport is “fully equipped” to handle the new requirements for UAE entry, said an airport spokesperson. The airport has partnered with Mapmygenome, an ICMR (Indian Council of Medical Research), and NABL (National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories) certified lab for COVID-19 testing. The lab operates 24/7 for passengers and airport personnel.
“As per the airlines operating to UAE, they are still awaiting clarity from health authorities of UAE for reopening of travel between India-UAE,” said the spokesperson. “The opening will depend upon the UAE government’s clearance.”