Residents stranded in India can return to UAE
Thousands of Indians will be able to return to the UAE on dozens of flights that will begin next week.
The Emirati and Indian governments agreed to operate special flights from July 12 to July 26.
The Indian Ministry of Civil Aviation said the charter flights which are currently taking thousands of Indians home on repatriation mission are now allowed to bring back residents of the Emirates who have been stranded in India since the borders closed in March.
Bookings will open for passengers whose final destination is the UAE.
The flight schedule will be reviewed and can be extended, the Indian ministry said on Twitter.
Those coming back to the Emirates must have an ICA approval code.
Indian airlines will also operate repatriation flights.
These flights can take the ICA-approved UAE residents to the Emirates on their outbound journey from India.
The decision has brought relief to thousands in the UAE and India who have been waiting to return to their families and jobs.
Abu Dhabi resident Mahamood Punjavi, 54, has been asked by his company to head back to Kerala for a few months.
“I have been waiting for two months. There is no work and my salary is almost nothing. As soon as I get a flight I will go back to my family,” said Mr Punjavi, who works for a rental car service in Abu Dhabi and has lived in the UAE for more than 30 years.
He had secured a seat on a repatriation flight a month ago but was in quarantine after one of his flatmates tested positive for coronavirus.
“I was not ill and tested negative. But because we shared a room, I lost my chance to go home,” he said.
In Kerala, Ameen Mohammed is relieved flights will resume between the countries.
“We are now trying to find out information about whether we need testing and if children below 12 require the PCR test,” said the 34-year-old nurse, who works in Abu Dhabi.
The fourth phase of the Salute India Mission began on July 3 to take home Indian residents who wanted to leave the Emirates.