Dubai has barred entry to anyone who has been in South Africa within the 10 days prior to arrival.
The rule has raised doubts on whether Emirates flights will actually be returning to South Africa on January 28, as per the airline’s last communication to the market.
Emirates cancelled its flights to and from South Africa a week ago, listing operational reasons for the cancellations. The airline said at the time that flights would resume on January 28 and encouraged agents and direct passengers to rebook their trips to travel beyond this date. But the airline was slow to release a comprehensive re-accommodation policy, leaving many passengers stranded around the world.
The new regulation, barring entry from South Africa, which many believe was the real reason behind the Emirates flight cancellations, has now been updated on the airline’s website under the following link:
“New rules for travel from South Africa – you will not be able to enter Dubai if you have been in South Africa within 10 days of departure to Dubai. This includes transiting in other countries within 10 days before travelling to Dubai. (sic)”
Ceo of Asata, Otto de Vries, told Travel News: “We are extremely frustrated by Emirates’ failure to give a clear explanation of why flights to South Africa were cancelled. Agents need to communicate with their clients and amend their bookings to involve as little disruption as possible. This can only be done if suppliers respect the travel trade enough to communicate openly and honestly with us. Telling us that flights are banned ‘due to operational reasons’ when there is far more at play, is not acceptable.”
Otto asked Emirates to urgently provide the trade with answers.
“Where does this leave our customers and how do we have the confidence that the schedules will resume on January 28. If the flights do not resume, what workable re-accommodation options will you offer our clients?
“We understand that the COVID situation is fluid but this heightens the need to work together collegially as an industry,” he added.
Owner of Travel VIP, Paula Varges Martini, also confirmed that no communication from Emirates had been received relating to the expected resumption of flights to South Africa on January 28. These flights still reflected in the system at time of publication.