Arvind Ragam is the general manager of Dubai-based Moosa Moosji Travel & Tourism.
PHOTO BY EXPAT MEDIA
DUBAI – An ongoing suspension of inbound travel to the UAE from certain Asian countries has led to an increase in demand for chartered flights to the UAE.
Expats desperate to return to the country have booked chartered flights, which are exempted from the travel ban and subject to the approval of the UAE’s General Civil Aviation Authority.
Residents, mostly from India, have taken to social media to report paying up to Dh25,000 to operators for seats on private jets.
“Many passengers who are stranded in India are willing to pay huge prices,” said Arvind Ragam, General Manager of Dubai-based Moosa Moosji Travel & Tourism.
Ragam said many of those looking for charter flights are “residents who want to bring their parents to the UAE, given the dire situation in India, as well as corporates who want to bring their stranded employees back to the UAE”.
With the long waiting list for available private jets, Ragam advises travelers to make sure their flight is secured before making any payment. “If they ask you for advance payment, don’t pay unless they can give you a guaranteed booking,” he advised.
“We only ask for payment when there is an available flight, and we book the flight on a first-come, first-served basis to customers,” he said.
Maria Hendricks, an Indian expatriate who has been unable to fly back to the UAE since traveling to India in April, said she is considering taking a chartered flight to expedite her return to the emirates.
“I have been in constant fear of not having a job to return to if the travel ban is prolonged,” Hendricks told Expatmedia.net.
Demand for chartered flights has soared as passenger flights from India remained suspended until July 6. The travel suspension also applies to transit passengers from India.
Authorities gave no end date for the ban that began on April 24, but the move is subject to review as India continued to record a surge in coronavirus cases in recent weeks.
Currently, only those permitted to enter the UAE are passengers who are members of diplomatic missions, holders of UAE gold visa, Emiratis, passengers exempted or granted permission to enter UAE by appropriate authorities, and passengers with valid Covid-19 PRC test certificate and are traveling on chartered flights. ICA/Expat Media
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