The GCAA confirmed on May 7 that the travel ban is still in place. “All passenger carrying flights operate for repatriation purposes only,” the authority said.
Emirates and Etihad have yet to confirm when they will resume normal operations although both carriers have recently announced incoming flights from select destinations, primarily to fly in stranded expatriates abroad.
Since May 9, the Abu Dhabi-based airline has opened bookings for incoming flights from London Heathrow, Melbourne, Seoul Incheon, Singapore, Amsterdam, Barcelona, Frankfurt,Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur, Manila, Toronto and Tokyo Narita.
Emirates has also operated limited passenger flights to carry travelers from select destinations back to the UAE. Current destinations for return flights include Frankfurt and London Heathrow.
“COVID-19 flight and travel restrictions remain in place across many countries around the world. We are closely monitoring the situation as it evolves, and we hope to resume services as soon as conditions allow,” Emirates said in a statement.
Alexandre de Juniac, director general and CEO of the International Air Transport Association (IATA), had said that airlines won’t be able to resume full passenger operations before the end of the year.
“What we have in mind is for the industry to resume operations gradually, step by step… We don’t expect to return to full operations before the end of this year,” Juniac said during a media briefing.
The near-halt to passenger operations due to the coronavirus pandemic has left airlines around the world struggling for survival. Revenue losses for the carriers are estimated to be around $314 billion, according to IATA.
(Writing by Cleofe Maceda; editing by Mily Chakrabarty)
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