More private jets are being operated in and out of the UAE since Covid-19 restrictions were eased, according to private jet operators in the country. Popular charter destinations include cities around the GCC, Africa, Europe and island resorts in the Indian Ocean.
"All charter flights operate with the appropriate permissions and clearances for the specific mission, route and destination. Passengers are required to submit some paperwork for the approval of authorities at the point of departure and destination. These typically mirror the requirements for passengers on commercial airlines and are subject to change at short notice," said Scott Glenn, director of sales at Empire Aviation Group.
"On board, a rigorous sanitisation process has been introduced and the standard Covid-19 safety protocols are in place. Standard VIP catering is available to passengers on all flights," he added.
A surge in demand for private jets has been noticed from the Indian cities of New Delhi and Mumbai from mid-June, said Scott.
"The charter rates vary from aircraft to aircraft but typically cost between $6,500 and $9,000 per hour of flying. Currently, we have additional charter flights booked from various destinations in India - mainly for passengers returning to Dubai, from Delhi and Mumbai."
Jithin of Mida Travels, who has been arranging business jets from Mumbai to Dubai, told Khaleej Times that his next few flights are fully booked. "One flight has 13 seats. Before the pandemic, most of my clients were Dubai-bound high-profile passengers from Africa. Recently, there is a huge demand from India," he said.
Two Indian families have recently used the jets and two other flights have been scheduled to fly back to the UAE by Friday, he added.
Indish Airways, which specialises in scheduled chartered flights to Russia and Africa, said they are concerned about strangers travelling together.
"Smaller aircraft are usually used by closely related people for travel purposes. In light of Covid-19, it is not advisable to be used by unrelated passengers, given the risk. We will wait until things cool off a bit more to arrange more flights," said Sylvester Vijayakumar, a representative of the airline.
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