Flying from India to the UAE has got momentum, with many Indian private jet operators and airlines such as Emirates working chartered flights to Dubai with particular kinds of passengers, private jet operators and travel industry officials said. Passengers are, forking out large sums of cash to reserve a seat on chartered flights as huge demand for travel to Dubai has seen values skyrocketing. The air traffic by chartered flight to Dubai is on an increase, even as the UAE prohibition on daily flight operations from the South Asian country after April 24 is still in impact.
UAE’s General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) set down the law against pooling and seat trading on charter jets from India to the UAE, travel agencies and charter operators are coming in line and are presently going by the book. The GCCA, after becoming conscious of pooling and per-seat trading on chartered jets from India to the UAE, published a circular on Friday restraining operators from merging or selling per seat. The GCAA also added that operators who have been let for pooling or ‘per seat offer’ will be prevented from moving to the UAE. The GCAA is gathering all the data needed from local authorities to confirm flight and passenger information.
Several groups arriving from India hold UAE citizens, members of the diplomatic missions of the two nations, official delegations, those on businessmen chartered flights and those carrying golden residency visas have been let to travel to the Gulf country as of April 24. However, passengers entering the UAE from India must isolate for 10 days.“Business flights are allowed post-ban for specific categories of people. This has led to a big jump in the number of flights to Dubai by private jet operators in India, after April 24,” Tapish Khivensra, chief executive officer of Enthral Aviation, a leading private jet operator, told Arabian Business.
With India caught between a fatal second surge of the Covid-19 virus, passenger entrance from India to the UAE, one of the world’s most active air corridors, was discontinued on April 25. Since then, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka have been appended to the list, in addition to Nigeria and South Africa. There has been a large need for charter passenger jets from India as well as Pakistan, especially from high-net-worth businessmen.
“The business jets can be owned by top corporate groups or charter service providers. Though private jets are ranging from six- to 19-seaters, only eight passengers are currently allowed per chartered flight as per the revised rules by the UAE authorities,” said the chief executive of Enthral Aviation which manages private charter services from India and Canada.
“We can see at least four to five flights in a day from India to Dubai on daily basis – and even more on some days,” Khivensra said, continuing that “right now I can see on the radar two aircraft in the sky flying to Dubai.”He also said chartered flights by Indian private jet operators are allowed on a case-to-case basis. Travel industry executives said currently ex-pat Indians who got abandoned in India after the flight prohibition and even Indian travelers with UAE visiting visas “for certain purposes” are permitted to travel by these chartered flights.
“We have seen passengers whose residency visas are about to expire or those who have family in Dubai and who have come to India to meet their families traveling on our chartered flights,” a senior executive with another private jet operator said.“Others wanted to go back at the earliest to join their business or work,” said the senior executive who preferred not to be recognized.Khivensra said the need for traveling to the UAE is enormous now, as many Indians who are UAE residents are still stranded.
“People on work visas who had come to India to visit their family and even many of the [UAE] visiting visa holders who wish to travel to Dubai have also been calling,” Khivensra said. Senior executives at travel booking agencies said airlines such as Emirates are also operating for chartered flights from particular cities in India to Dubai.“Almost every alternate day there are [chartered] flights by Emirates out of Mumbai or Delhi,” a senior executive with Mumbai-based Fly Aero Link said. Private jet operators said they were also conscious of chartered services by Emirates from India to Dubai.
Just airline crew, UAE citizens; UAE long-term residence visa holders (also named golden visa) keeping a valid PCR test, diplomatic personnel holding a valid PCR test; any formal organizations’ personnel holding a valid PCR test; and any person holding a valid PCR test and carried on a business aircraft are permitted to enter the UAE.
“Yes, we have also heard of it, but we haven’t booked our passengers on their aircraft as it is [more] expensive than our private jets since [Emitates’] jets are bigger. Also, seats on the Emirates charters are sold out for the next 10 days when we checked,” Khivensra said. Industry officials said many travel agencies and other service providers have begun selling seats on the airline charter for costs beginning from AED15,000 per seat.“Price differs on availability and aircraft,” an executive said.