Dubai’s Emirates airline said on Saturday that it is operating limited passenger flights for travelers to return to the UAE, according to a travel update posted on the airline’s website.
The airline has so far announced Frankfurt, Germany, and London Heathrow, UK, as destinations for return flights, but added that more would be updated as time went on.
The service will only be available for residents that have secured approval from The Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship (ICA) via the online UAE Twajudi Resident service.
“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. We will announce any service resumption when we are in a position to do so,” Emirates said in their statement.
All passengers will be subject to a mandatory Dubai Health Authority (DHA) coronavirus test on arrival, followed by a 14-day quarantine period and follow up test.
The news follows Thursday’s announcement that Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Airways would be operating one-way flights to the UAE capital for residents and nationals to return to the country beginning May 9.
Flights out of the UAE were suspended on March 23 as officials moved to contain the spread of the coronavirus, officially known as COVID-19. Etihad, Emirates and other Gulf airlines have begun to offer some flights out of the UAE for those looking to return last week, but incoming flights were still unavailable except for government-organized repatriations.
It is currently unclear when all government restrictions on passengers will lift. The UAE has temporarily banned visas on arrival for all nationalities and banned its citizens from traveling outside the country.
Last week, Etihad and Emirates chiefs said that it could take three years for air travel demand to return to pre-COVID-19 levels.
On April 29, Etihad Airways said that it would be delaying the return of regular passenger flights until June 16.
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