The man who leads Emirates Airline’s operations in the United Kingdom says he is “frustrated” that Dubai remains on the country’s travel ban ‘Red List’ and hopes the policy will soon be reversed.
Under the current rules, only British nationals are allowed to fly to the UK from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) which includes Dubai and Abu Dhabi. They must then spend 10-days in hotel quarantine at a cost of $1,750 per person – although the British government is considering a £500 price increase to dissuade anyone from unnecessary travel.
The UAE was one of the first countries slapped with a Red List travel ban in late January after a surge in COVID-19 infections and fears that the Beta variant was running rife. British Home Secretary Priti Patel had publicly criticised social media influencers who had stoked controversy in the British tabloid media over their antics in Dubai shortly before the travel ban was announced.
Richard Jewsbury, divisional vice president for the UK, told the PA news agency that he now hoped the British would reconsider because “the data coming out of the UAE is very good”.
But while Jewsbury insisted that Emirates will “respect the Government process” and “accept their sovereign right to do what they see fit”, he described the current policy as “frustrating”.
In April, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps suggested the UAE and other transit hubs like Qatar could remain on the Red List indefinitely no matter what the local infection rates are because they connect passengers to the UK from high-risk countries.
In recent days, however, government sources have suggested that transit passengers might soon be able to travel through ‘Red List’ countries like the UAE without having to quarantine in a hotel on arrival.
“It’s just a case of waiting for the UK authorities to shuffle the deck on the red, amber and green categories,” Jewsbury continued.
“The next change should be during the first half of August and we would hope to see some movement reflective of the state of play in the UAE and all the health and safety measures that have been put in place across the passenger journey.”
But while some countries have significantly eased travel restrictions on the UAE, the Brits aren’t the only ones to be taking a cautious approach. The US State Department recently advised American citizens to avoid all travel to the UAE citing the risk of COVID-19, while a similar notice was issued by the Israeli government.
Even Saudi Arabia, one of the UAE’s closest allies and trading partners, considers the UAE a ‘Red List’ destination and bans all travel to the country. Saudi nationals who ignore the ban face being barred from travelling for three years.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.