UAE carriers to operate repatriation flights

Published: 5 April 2020 - 7:45 a.m.

The UAE’s Etihad Airways and Emirates Airline have been given permission to operate select repatriation flights across the globe.

According to sister publication Aviation Business Middle East, Emirates has received approval from the General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) to fly to London Heathrow four times a week and to Frankfurt, Paris, Zurich and Brussels three times a week from April 6.

Etihad will offer services from April 5 to the US, Melbourne, Singapore, Manila, Bangkok, Jakarta and Amsterdam, subject to government approvals. Both airlines will carry the outbound passenger flights from the UAE.

Authorities in the country opted to ground all passenger and transit flights from the UAE in the end of March in a bid to control the spread of COVID-19. In light of this, Emirates Airline chairman H.H. Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum said: “While we hope to resume full operations as soon as possible, we acknowledge the challenges faced by many cities in dealing with the Covid-19 outbreak.”

His Highness added: “Our network can only be restored with the easing of travel restrictions, and we maintain close contact with all authorities for latest updates.”

Repatriation efforts were one of the few exemptions that authorities laid out when the operational freeze was announced. So far, the UAE has successfully completed more than 30 Emirati repatriation missions, returning close to 2,000 nationals back home.

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