DUBAI (Reuters) -The United Arab Emirates will on Thursday lift a ban on transit flights including from India and Pakistan, the National Emergency and Crisis Management Authority (NCEMA) said on Tuesday.
India and Pakistan are important markets for Emirates, Etihad Airways and other UAE carriers flydubai and Air Arabia.
The Gulf state, a major international travel hub, had banned passengers from many South Asian and African states travelling through its airports this year because of the coronavirus pandemic.
NCEMA said on Twitter that passengers travelling from countries where flights had been banned would be able to transit through its airports from Aug. 5 as long as they present a negative PCR coronavirus test taken 72 hours prior to departure.
Final destination approval would also have to be provided, the authority said, adding that UAE departure airports would arrange separate lounges for transiting passengers.
The transit ban had also included Nepal, Sri Lanka, Uganda and Nigeria.
Dubai state carrier Emirates welcomed the government’s decision to allow travel to resume from the affected countries. There was no immediate comment from other UAE airlines on the announcement, which also eased an entry ban on residents returning from countries where flights had been suspended.
NCEMA said a ban on entry to the UAE for passengers from these countries would also be lifted for those with valid residencies and who are certified by Emirati authorities as fully vaccinated.
However, they would need to apply for online entry permits prior to travelling and would need to present a negative PCR test taken 48 hours prior to departure.
Those working in the medical, educational or government sectors in the Gulf Arab state as well as those studying or completing medical treatment in the UAE would be exempt from the vaccination requirement as would humanitarian cases.
(Reporting by Alexander Cornwell, Editing by Jane Merriman and Timothy Heritage)