Friday, June 25, 2021

Dubai holidays: UAE raises hopes for ‘bespoke travel arrangements’ – some flights resume

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Following Thursday’s traffic light travel update, the United Arab Emirates ambassador to the UK has slammed the Government’s decision to keep the nation on the red list. His “disappointment” comes amid news that some direct flights from the country have been permitted to resume to “dedicated” airports, though strictly only for “essential” travel. The ambassador has spoken out about “bespoke travel arrangements” the UAE had made with other countries, including Greece and Italy. 

At the time of writing, only British and Irish nationals and UK residents are permitted to enter the UK from anywhere in the United Arab Emirates.

Upon arrival, they will be required to quarantine for 10 days in a Government designated hotel.

However, the United Arab Emirates ambassador has spoken out about Boris Johnson’s Government’s decision, claiming the nation is “among the top countries in the world for both vaccination rate and its testing programme.”

In a statement, UAE Ambassador to the UK, Mansoor Abulhoul said: “It is disappointing to see that the UAE has remained on the UK’s red travel list.

“We have best-in-class health and safety infrastructure to protect visitors and residents.

“This includes rapid testing, social distancing and sanitisation procedures at our airports, as well as Emirates and Etihad airlines fully sanitising all planes. Additionally, the UAE is among the top countries in the world for both vaccination rate and its testing programme.”

According to Mr Abulhoul, the UAE has already made agreements with the likes of Greece and Italy.

The official had hoped the UK would be willing to make a similar agreement.

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“We have strict controls to guard against troubling variants and have bespoke travel arrangements with several countries for vaccinated passengers, including Greece and Italy, and we look forward to negotiating similar solutions with other countries,” he explained.

“Our aim is to allow families and friends separated by COVID-19 to reunite as soon as possible and to resume our crucial business and leisure travel links.”

While the UAE remains on the red list, the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) issued a new update today regarding direct flights from the nation.

On its travel advice page, the FCDO explains: “From June 8, direct flights can arrive in England from the UAE, but they must arrive at dedicated terminals at Heathrow and Birmingham airports.

“Different requirements may apply for arrivals into Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.”

Those turning from the UAE must take a pre-departure COVID-19 test.

They must also pre-book their hotel quarantine stay and two tests to be taken during this time.

Passengers are liable to foot the bill of this process, which is at a rate of £1,175 for one adult in one room for 10 days.

The FCDO adds: “There is no additional charge to your initial booking fee if you need to extend your stay as a result of positive tests at day two or day eight. We will keep package prices under review.”

At the time of writing, the FCDO continues to advise “against all but essential travel to the whole of the United Arab Emirates based on the current assessment of COVID-19 risks.”

Those who do need to travel to the UAE will face strict entry requirements.

The FCDO explains: “Residents, tourists and visitors travelling from or through the UK and arriving in Dubai and Abu Dhabi must have a negative COVID-19 PCR test which was taken no more than 72 hours before departure and present the certificate at check-in.

“Travellers arriving in Abu Dhabi will also be required to undertake a COVID-19 PCR test on arrival.

“Travellers arriving in Dubai may be required to undertake a further COVID-19 PCR test on arrival and will have to isolate pending the result of the COVID-19 PCR test.”

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