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Expatriates’ hope of return to UAE dims as flight suspension continues

At present, most of the Gulf countries except Qatar and Bahrain have banned flights from India, upsetting the return plans of expats.

Published: 19th July 2021 05:21 AM  |   Last Updated: 19th July 2021 05:21 AM   |  A+A-

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THIRUVANANTHAPURAM:  The expatriates stuck in Kerala who had hoped to return to the UAE to resume work and business after July 21 have got a jolt as Etihad Airways has extended flight suspension from India, Pakistan and Bangladesh until July 31.Earlier, the UAE had suspended flights from India including 13 other countries till July 21. Though Etihad has not formally announced the further extension of flight suspension, a message pops up if one searches for flights to the Gulf country from Kochi on its website that no flights are available till July 31. Usually, other airlines also follow Etihad’s decisions on flight operations to and from the UAE.

At present, most of the Gulf countries except Qatar and Bahrain have banned flights from India, upsetting the return plans of expats. Though some people have taken circuitous routes to reach their destinations in the Gulf, new Covid norms in the transit countries like Qatar, Armenia and Ukraine have upset the plans of the remaining persons stuck here who want to go back.

As there are no inbound flights from India to the UAE and other GCC countries, expats are now reluctant to come home during vacation. A senior officer of an airline said the chances are low for lifting the air travel restrictions, which started on April 24, even after July 31. “First, Covid cases have been increasing here after a brief respite. Further, the UAE is looking forward to holding Dubai Expo, which was scheduled last year but got postponed to this October due to the rise in Covid cases.

As per our observation, the UAE is going with flight suspension eyeing this event as it cannot afford postponing it once again. But this has hit the expats who work in the UAE more,” he said.“We have taken this issue up with the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) and the Kerala chief secretary has written to the MEA secretary seeking steps to resolve it,” said an official of NoRKA-Roots, the field agency of the department of non-resident Keralites.



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