The United Arab Emirates (UAE), home to thousands of expatriate Indians, has asked Air India Ltd not to carry passengers from India on its repatriation flights under the Vande Bharat Mission, unless specifically approved by the UAE government, the national carrier said on Wednesday.
“As per the guidelines issued by the General Civil Aviation Authority of the United Arab Emirates—Safety Decision 2020-01 (Issue 17) Q&A Guidance For Foreign Operators, Issue Date: 23 June 2020 —transportation of passengers to the UAE on repatriation flights is not allowed," it added.
All passengers, including Indian nationals, who hold valid residency permit or work permit, and have approvals from UAE’s Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship or Dubai’s General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs to travel to the country, will now need specific approvals from the UAE embassy in New Delhi and the UAE’s ministry of foreign affairs and international cooperation to travel from India to the Gulf nation on the Vande Bharat flights.
Dubai, a popular tourist destination, will reopen for visitors on 7 July. It had closed its borders on 25 March. However, all tourists will have to produce a medical certificate showing a negative covid-19 test result, or undergo mandatory PCR testing at the airports on arrival.
The development comes just days after the US department of transportation said that India was engaging in discriminatory practices by leaving out American carriers from the Vande Bharat Mission.