Travel

GulfNews Travel

COVID-19: Residents travelling with Etihad will have to wear a tracking wristband

Travel|: Abu Dhabi: All passengers arriving in Abu Dhabi will now be required to wear a tracking wristband during their 14-day quarantine. The wristbands are part of Etihad’s latest measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19, and will be required to be worn by all residents and visitors travelling with the Abu Dhabi carrier. SEE MORE Assembling a solar powered future in China Mexico holds symbolic raffle for unwanted presidential jet Photos: New products, services rolled out by Apple Pandemic turns summer into European tourism's leanest season “On arrival into Abu Dhabi you must self-isolate for 14 days. Self-isolation must take place at home and you will be required to wear a medically approved wristband for the duration. The wristband will be provided by the authorities at Abu Dhabi Airport after you clear immigration,” said Etihad Airways in an updated post on its website. However, passengers holding a diplomatic passport, under the age of 18, over the age of 60, or suffering from a chronic disease, will be exempt from having to wear the wristband. High risk If you are arriving from a country deemed high risk by the UAE authorities you may be subject to quarantine at a government facility. You may also have to complete a number of different forms when you reach your destination. PCR test A PCR test must be carried out within 96 hours prior to arrival in Abu Dhabi and a negative COVID-19 PCR test result certificate from an approved clinic must be shown for approval to board, the airline said in a statement. According to travel regulations, permission to enter Abu Dhabi will only be granted for UAE nationals and residents with a valid visa. All other visa types, including tourist visas, are unable to enter. READ MORE After COVID-19, global cruise lines will once again arrive at Dubai port by late October How COVID-19’s made flying business class feel more like economy Emirates offers special ticket rates for students Abu Dhabi's two new airlines are aiming big with hyper-competitive ticket rates If you are a UAE resident, you no longer require approval from the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship (ICA) to return to Abu Dhabi. Before you book your flight, you are encouraged to visit uaeentry.ica.gov.ae. Please submit your passport number and Emirates ID number to receive instant verification of your UAE entry status, which will be based on your UAE residence visa validity. Passengers will be required to undergo thermal screening and COVID-19 PCR testing when you land at Abu Dhabi airport, which will take some time to complete. This applies to all guests, excluding children under 12. Authorities also recommended passengers to print their test results and keep them during the trip, which will be required to present your result for validation at check-in. You may also present your test result via the Al Hosn app if you are flying to Abu Dhabi.

GulfNews Travel

Book a flight to nowhere: Singapore Airlines offers flights starting and ending at same place

Travel|Aviation|: Singapore Airlines Ltd. is planning so-called flights to nowhere - trips that start and end at the same airport - in an attempt to boost its grounded passenger business, the Straits Times reported Friday, citing unidentified people. The flights from Changi airport are slated to take place by the end of October and may be bundled with staycations at the city's hotels, shopping vouchers and limousine ferry rides, according to the report. See more Dog swim day: Munich's canines take a dip Offbeat: Belgian city finds its former mayor's heart in a fountain IPL in UAE: Kane Williamson rises to challenge for Sunrisers Hyderabad Tribute In Light shines above the skyline on eve of 9/11 attack anniversary Stricter travel rules to control the spread of Covid-19 pandemic have battered the aviation industry worldwide, with carriers such as Singapore Airlines hit particularly hard because they don't operate domestic flights. The International Air Transport Association doesn't expect passenger traffic to recover to pre-pandemic levels until 2024. Singapore Airlines isn't the first to offer trips whose destination is the airport from which it departed. Last month, Japan's ANA Holdings Inc. sold tickets for a charter flight to nowhere, while two Taiwan carriers launched similar campaigns - Starlux Airlines introduced a "pretending to go abroad" journey and EVA Airways Corp. filled all 309 seats on a special Father's Day flight. Singapore Airlines' plan comes after a survey by Singapore Air Charter showed 75% of the 308 participants were willing to buy tickets on these types of flights, according to the Straits Times report. Singapore's flag carrier said on Thursday that it is eliminating 20% of its workforce despite raising about S$11 billion ($8 billion) through loans and a rights issue in June, and receiving aid from a government job-support program.

GulfNews Travel

UAE passengers flying to India no longer need to register with Indian missions

Travel|: Dubai: UAE residents planning to fly to India aboard any flight now need not register with the Indian missions in the UAE anymore. They can now proceed to directly book their tickets with the airline they are flying on. This will include all Vande Bharat Mission (VBM) flights to India operated by Air India and Air India Express. An announcement to this effect was made by the Indian Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) and the Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) and it applies to a total of seven countries, including the UAE, which have entered into an ‘air-bubble’ arrangement with India. See more COVID -19: UAE parents, students go shopping for the new school term UAE: Ticket cancelled due to COVID-19, but no refund from travel agency, for over 60 days IPL in UAE: Kings XI Punjab and Rajasthan get down to training in Dubai Photos: Gulf News reader shares pictures of the desert safari tour in the UAE Apart from the UAE, the countries include the US, UK, France, Canada, Germany and Qatar as India has entered into an ‘air transport bubble’ arrangement with them. The Indian Civil Aviation Ministry explained the Standard Operating Protocol for passengers flying to India from countries which are part of this agreement so far. The Indian Consulate in Dubai clarified that VBM passengers no longer need to register with the Indian missions in the UAE before flying to India. Neeraj Agrawal, Consul, Press at the Indian Consulate in Dubai, told Gulf News : “Air transport bubble, also known as the corona corridor, is an arrangement between two countries that allows their residents to travel to these countries in the absence of full-fledged commercial flights due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It is a sort of a bilateral arrangement made by the countries. Currently, India has this agreement with UAE and six other countries and is actively considering the same for some other countries. Registration of passengers flying to India is no longer required and the bookings may be done directly with the airlines. This also includes all the VBM flights as these fall within the air bubble arrangement.” Agarwal further said that even the PCR test before flying is not mandatory although highly recommended. “Passengers flying from UAE are advised to take the rtPCR test for COVID-19. They can register themselves on the www.newdelhiairport.in portal and upload their report. This portal is applicable to all destinations in India. If a negative test is uploaded, then passengers arriving in India will not be required to undergo the paid institutional quarantine at a hotel and can proceed home,” he explained.

GulfNews Travel

Vazir Group establishes new division for foreign workers and skilled workers

Advice|: Vazir Group, Dubai’s leading immigration consultant announced the opening of its new division that aims to cater to the increased influx of skilled immigration seekers and the added demand from destinations like Canada and Malta for personnel in certain industries by adding Foreign Worker Program and Skilled Worker Program as part of their services. Traditionally Vazir Group has been known to assist investors and entrepreneurs with financially lucrative immigration opportunities across Canada, Cyprus, Greece, Portugal and Malta to name a few. The advent of the new division come about as a result of an added interest from immigration seekers from across the GCC and India in particular. The Skilled Worker Program has a specific demand for nurses, truckers, workers in the logistics and construction, IT or sales and retail from Canada as well as nurses and other healthcare workers from Malta. The Foreign Worker Program is the fastest program to migrate to Canada and is dedicated to the applicant and his family, based on the main applicant's CV, background and work experience. Vazir Group has assisted thousands of families and individuals realise their potential through immigration since 2004 and ventured into multiple geographies like Sri Lanka, India, Lebanon and Egypt over the past few years, through its offices in Canada and the UAE. The company has special fees for Skilled Immigrant division to help deserving individuals in these challenging times. Often referred to as a land of immigrants, Canada is home to millions of newcomers that helped build the harmony and way of life that shaped the land of opportunities. The Canadian government reinforced the fact and the important role that the immigrants have in keeping the country moving during the Covid-19 pandemic and underlining the importance and need of new immigrants. “The current times have changed how people, businesses and even governments behave. While destinations are still open for and in fact welcoming more and more investors and entrepreneurs, skilled individuals are the need of this hour, which cannot be ignored. Therefore, and in order to assist the process we have established a division that focusses on specific industries, while upholding Vazir Group’s standards of service, transparency and success rate for desirous applicants,” says Vrinda Gupta, Managing Partner Vazir Group. The move aims to assist aspiring migration seekers with options that fit their circumstances and allow them to benefit from exclusive offerings.

GulfNews Travel

Watch: How Dubai Airport is ensuring safety and ease of travel in the aftermath of COVID-19

Transport|Travel|: Dubai: Dubai International Airport’s new system to travel through the facility post-pandemic has gained travellers’ trust. The easing of travel restrictions has resulted in more than 20,000 passengers travelling through the airport every day, with the expectation that the airport will return to normality soon. Strict measures have been implemented at the world’s busiest international airport to ensure passenger safety in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. See more UAE: Sun, sand and water sports - how to stay cool in the summer Photos of Dubai Frame: A must see tourist destination in the UAE How it works: Faster, cheaper COVID-test using laser in Abu Dhabi Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter sends home photos from the Red Planet According to the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA) in Dubai, by this November, the peak number of travellers passing through the airport will be similar to 2019 figures. Brigadier Talal Ahmad Al Shanqiti, general director assistant of Ports Affairs at DRFA-Dubai, told Gulf News, that facilitating travel through the airport was essential towards ensuring that the airport returned to normality soon. Passengers can now arrive two to two-and-a-half hours before the flight. Airport procedures used to take four hours before departure, but the situation is back to normal now. Brigadier Talal Ahmad Al Shanqiti “Airport procedures used to take four hours before departure, but the situation is back to normal now. Number of travellers has increased from 500 passengers per day during flight restrictions to 20,000 per day by August,” Brig Al Shanqiti told Gulf News in an exclusive interview at the airport. While the risk of getting infected on an aircraft is typically lower than in a shopping centre or in an office environment, there are simple measures one can follow to further reduce the risk when travelling through airports. Following are excerpts from what Brigadier Al Shanqiti had to share. Leaving UAE through Dubai Airport Take a taxi, use the Metro or let a friend drop you at the airport as only travellers with valid tickets are allowed to enter the airport premises. Comply with social distancing norms as leaving a two-metre distance between travellers is a must inside the airport. After crossing the airport’s main gate, you will see a vending machine selling personal protective equipment (PPE), in case if you have forgotten to bring your mask, gloves or protective kit for travel. Wearing masks is a must all the times at the airport. After you are done with PPE, you need to cross the thermal screening gates. If your temperature is low, you can travel without a hitch. However, if your temperature is high, an alarm will go off and an employee will check your temperature again with a manual thermometer. If your temperature is still high, then you need to go to a quarantine area near the thermal screening gates, wait for ten minutes and pass through the check again. If you still have high temperature, a medical team will arrive to check you again and decide on whether to allow you to travel or not. When you arrive to the departures area to get your boarding ticket, make sure to leave enough space between travellers. A plastic barrier has been set up between a traveller and an airline employee at the check-in desks to help protect both from the infection. Next, you will be at the Passport Control counters for immigration formalities. An immigration official at Terminal 3 of Dubai International Airport. Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/Gulf News If you are an Emirati, a resident or if you are holding a certified passport, you can use the smart gates for a contactless immigration experience and go through smoothly. If you can’t use the smart gates, then you can always safely use the traditional immigration counters where there is a safety barrier between you and the immigration officer, have your passport stamped and take off your mask to show your face to the officer. After reaching the Duty Free area, you can safely shop by following the safety signs. At the seating area near the departure gate, there are barriers between seats and signs to ensure safe distancing between fellow travellers before you finally board the aeroplane. Arriving at Dubai Airport If you travelling to Dubai, you need to carry a negative COVID-19 test report. You need to show it to the Dubai Health Authority employees at the airport on arrival before proceeding to the immigration counters. Residents need to go through another round of PCR test at the arrival point and download the COVID-19 app to get the result. Social distancing is important at immigration counter queues as well and so is wearing a mask. A safety barrier has been placed between the immigration officer and the traveller. A passenger at one of the Passport Control desks at Dubai International Airport, Terminal 3. Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/Gulf News Read more Dubai is back to tourism with dramatic increase in travellers Abu Dhabi schools reopening: COVID-19 precautions, rules in place If you have a negative test result, then you can go out without quarantine. However, if you come up with a positive test result on arrival, then you need to be in self-quarantine for 14 days and do the test again. You can then go to the baggage carousels to collect your bags, then walk towards the exit gates to take a taxi, a ride on the Metro or be picked up by your friend or relative.

GulfNews Travel

Travel update: UAE nationals need Consulate approval when flying to Europe

Travel|: Dubai: Emirates airline has confirmed that UAE nationals are required to obtain approval from the consulate general of their destination before flying out to Europe. The consular approval is required for all European destinations except the United Kingdom and Greece. SEE MORE UAE: How to check your visa application status UAE: How to cancel your residence, employment visa Does my child need to get a COVID-19 test before flight to the UAE? Cost and process explained as Dubai tourist and visit visas open In an update on the requirements for citizens to travel to Europe, Emirates Airlines said on its website: “Before travelling to Europe, except to the UK and Greece, UAE nationals must get approval from the Consulate General of their European destination within their departure country. For example, if you are a UAE national travelling from Dubai to France, you must apply to the French Consulate General in Dubai. If you are flying from Australia to France via Dubai, you must apply to the French Consulate General in Australia.” “The travel regulations in each destination are changing frequently. Customers are required to come to the airport with the appropriate travel documents for their destination," the airline explained. The Dubai-based carrier stressed that “all passengers travelling from Dubai to UK or Europe (and other mandated destinations) will be required to take a COVID-19 PCR test no more than 96 hours before departure and present the test result certificate at check-in.” READ MORE Good news: No more ICA travel permit for UAE residents landing in Abu Dhabi from August 11 Airlines allowed to carry Indians holding visit visas on flights to UAE UAE visit visa: Validity of expired entry permits extended for one month Dubai's tourism and hotel sectors are seeing a 'rapid rebound' after July 7 Passengers may need to take a printed COVID-19 PCR test before departure. Although Dubai residents do not need Dubai government approval to leave Dubai, they must have approval to return. The airline further said that COVID-19 flight and travel restrictions remain in place across many countries around the world, including mandatory quarantine, PCR tests and registration with the concerned government authority. “We are closely monitoring the situation as it evolves, and we hope to resume services as soon as conditions allow. This includes receiving government approvals, the easing of travel restrictions, and commercial demand,” it added.

GulfNews Travel

Airlines allowed to carry Indians holding visit visas on flights to UAE

Travel|UAE|: Dubai: Indians who hold any type of valid UAE visa can now travel from India to the UAE, the Indian Ambassador tweeted on Monday evening. Ambassador Pavan Kapoor wrote on his Twitter account:“Very pleased to see the @MoCA_GoI notification this evening as per which both Indian & UAE airlines can now carry any Indian national holding any type of valid UAE visa from India to UAE!” His comments follow a notification in this regard by India’s Ministry of Civil Aviation. The development means UAE residents of Indian nationality who were stranded in India can now return to the UAE. See more 4 simple money-saving habits to take up this pandemic Hyundai announces new electric vehicle brand How to get your end-of-service benefits if you are out of the UAE? Challenged accepted: Hollywood and Bollywood stars, Priyanka Chopra to Reese Witherspoon show off their mood calendar Those seeking to visit the UAE can also board Indian and UAE airlines to fly from India to the UAE. Earlier, India had barred its citizens holding tourist or visitor visas to travel to UAE. The move will also help Indians to bring their children studying in India to travel to UAE to meet their parents. Several families have been tweeting constantly and sending requests to the Indian missions urging them to allow their children or other family members stranded in India to fly to the UAE on tourist/visit visas. Those with new entry permits have also been seeking help to facilitate their entry Gulf News reported earlier that India’s Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) eased visa and travel restrictions to and from countries with which the Indian Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) has entered into an Air Bubble i.e., bilateral air travel arrangement during the COVID-19 pandemic. Read More COVID-19: India eases visa rules for travel to and from select countries, may add UAE to the list soon The MHA has already permitted entry to India for OCI (Overseas Indian Citizen) cardholders who belong to countries with which Air Bubble arrangements have been finalised by the MoCA such as the United States, United Kingdom, Germany and France. “Foreigners from these countries have also been allowed to avail Indian visa facility for business, medical and employment purposes. Indian citizens have also been allowed to travel to such countries on any type of visa,” the spokesperson of MHA posted on Twitter. .

GulfNews Travel

Good news: No more ICA travel permit for UAE residents landing in Abu Dhabi from August 11

Travel|UAE|: Dubai: Great news for UAE residents who are stranded abroad and waiting to come back to the UAE. Abu Dhabi International Airport has informed the airlines that UAE residents stranded abroad are not required to get mandatory ICA travel permit if they land in Abu Dhabi. The revised travel rules come into effect from August 11. “UAE residents with valid visas arriving at the Abu Dhabi International Airport are now not required to get travel permit from the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship (ICA), says a notification sent to airlines on Monday." Sources told Gulf News that an official announcment regarding the travel permit is expected to be released soon. See More UAE: 10 Five-star staycation deals under Dh500 Photos: Gulf News reader shares pictures of Arabian Oryx and Gazelles in Al Qudra desert in Dubai UAE: Emirates Polio Campaign vaccinates 722,500 kids in Pakistan Big relief for passengers When contacted by Gulf News, Mazhar Abbas, Regional Manager of Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) in Abu Dhabi, confirmed the new development. “Yes, we have got an email notification that UAE residents travelling from abroad to Abu Dhabi are no longer required to have ICA travel permits.” he said. Abbas said that this would a huge relief for expatriates stranded outside the UAE waiting for approvals to come to the UAE. “We are now expecting huge rush on inbound flights from Pakistan,” he noted. The ICA approval was mandatory for UAE residents who are stranded abroad due the COVID-19 precautionary measures. Those holding Dubai resident visa are required to obtain permission from General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDDRFA). UAE residents who have visas from Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, Ajman, Umm Al Quwain, Ras Al Khaimah and Fujairah are required to register on the smart channels of ICA to get permit to travel to UAE. Now, they do not require permission if they arrive at the Abu Dhabi Airport. PCR tests All other travel requirements including the PCR test for COVID-19 is mandatory for all passengers arriving in Abu Dhabi or any other airport in the UAE. With inputs by Abdullah Rashid, Abu Dhabi Editor