In light of the Covid-19 pandemic, flights to and from the UAE were officially suspended on March 24, while visitors still in the UAE were granted legal permission to stay.
Recently, UAE airlines Emirates, Etihad Airways, flydubai and Air Arabia have been operating limited outbound repatriation flights abroad to countries in Europe, Asia and more.
Below we’ll tell you all you need to know about how each airline is handling repatriation flights. Services are constantly updated every day, so be sure to watch this site for further updates.
These are outward bound, one-way flights to take residents of the destination and visitors stuck in the UAE back home. Certain flights will request residents of the destinations to contact their embassies for travel before boarding the flight.
Airlines throughout the UAE are scheduling limited outbound flights abroad, and tickets can be purchased through each airline’s websites. Flights will only be permitted at specific times and dates, with no flight changes and are usually non-refundable.
Passengers travelling on these flights are generally advised to arrive at the airport up to five hours ahead of their flight time to allow for social distancing measures, security and health screenings.
For a better look at which countries are accepting repatriation, suspending flights and how each are dealing with travel in light of Covid-19, click here.
Update: As of May 13, Emirates will be resuming scheduled passenger flights from May 21. The flagship airline will initially be operating to nine destinations, which includes London Heathrow, Frankfurt, Paris, Milan, Madrid, Chicago, Toronto, Sydney and Melbourne (subject to government approval).
Along with this, Emirates will also offer connections in Dubai for customers travelling between the UK and Australia. Find out more here.
Update: It’s been announced that Emirates will start operating a limited number of inbound flights into Dubai. The initial flights will come from London Heathrow and Frankfurt, with dates to be confirmed on emirates.com. Find out more here.
Dubai’s flagship air carrier has been operating flights to Europe, Asia and America since April, and have recently listed limited flights throughout May.
Cities Emirates has operated to include Tunis, Jakarta, Manila, Madrid, Lagos, Algiers, Taipei, Chicago, Kabul, Frankfurt, London Heathrow, Manila, Sao Paulo and Shanghai.
All Emirates flights will operate from Dubai International Airport’s Terminal 3 and flights can be booked on emirates.com. Only citizens of the destination country and those who meet the entry requirements will be allowed to board.
During these flights, cabin baggage will not be allowed and carry on is limited to laptop, handbag, briefcase or baby items. Enhanced cleaning is also taking place.
Emirates will operate a modified inflight service programme on these flights, with magazines unavailable. Food will continue to be served on board, but presentation will be modified to reduce contact during meal service. Emirates’ Lounge and Chauffeur Drive services will be temporarily unavailable.
Update: Etihad Airways has started operating inbound flights to a limited number of cities since Saturday May 9, with the first being from London. Find out more here.
The UAE’s national airline, Etihad Airways has recently updated its schedule of flights, adding more destinations and an increased frequency of repatriation flights.
The airline has introduced 15 destinations for permanent residents to return home to. All flights can be booked via www.etihad.com. Passengers can check out each of the dates for May right here.
Currently, destinations include Amsterdam, Barcelona, Brussels, Dublin, Frankfurt, Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur, London (Heathrow), Manila, Melbourne, New York (JFK), Seoul, Singapore, Tokyo and Zurich.
Abu Dhabi’s carrier has also stated there will be return flights to allow Emiratis overseas to travel back to the UAE.
Update: After suspending passenger operations issued by the government, flydubai plans to resume flights from June 5. Passenger bookings are now available on its site to destinations including Oman, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Tajikistan and Jordan. If flights are cancelled, refunds will be issued in the form of vouchers which are valid for 12 months.
Update: Dubai’s low-cost airline has updated its list of countries for permanent residents to go home to. This include Afghanistan (Kabul), Albania (Tirana), Kazakhstan (Kyzylorda), Kosovo (to Tirana), Kyrgyzstan (Bishkek), Montenegro (to Tirana) and Rwanda (Kigali).
Dubai’s low-cost airline flydubai has listed 13 countries it will be operating repatriation flights to.
Flights will be running out of DXB Terminal 2, and all flights, according to flydubai, include 20kg of baggage, and are subject to government approvals. Flights can be booked by heading to www.flydubai.com.
Currently, the special repatriation flights include Azerbaijan, Bosnia & Herzegovina (to Zagreb), Croatia, Georgia, Hungary (to Zagreb), Iraq, Italy, Kyrgyzstan, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia (to Zagreb), Tajikistan, Ukraine.
The airline also noted that passengers checking-in for repatriation flights must bring their own masks and gloves (as well as spare sets), and wear them for the entire duration of their journey.
From Sharjah International Airport, the Emirates low-budget airline has operated special outbound flights to Iran, with repatriation flight this May including to Lar, Tehran and Shiraz. Flights can be booked by heading to www.airarabia.com.
Air Arabia has also announced a list of other destinations it will be operating to, including Afghanistan, Iran, Oman, Kuwait, Bahrain, Sudan, Egypt, India and Nepal.
Currently, the ban on inbound flights to India has extended. Watch this site for further updates.
Watch this space for more developments and in the meantime, check out our sites for ideas of things to do while you're indoors. Click here for Abu Dhabi, here for Dubai and here for Sharjah.