First flight from Goa takes off for UAE after protocol allows international flights

The Panaji: With the United Arab of Emirates (UAE) lifting a ban for transit travellers for six countries including India, the first UAE-bound flight left from Goa Airport with 30 passengers on Friday morning after a long gap in the pandemic.

Panaji: With the United Arab of Emirates (UAE) lifting a ban for transit travellers for six countries including India, the first UAE-bound flight left from Goa Airport with 30 passengers on Friday morning after a long gap in the pandemic.

Besides India, the ban has been lifted for Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Nigeria and Uganda.

 In a tweet, UAE’s National Emergency and Crisis Management Authority (NCEMA) said: “These categories include those with valid residency permits who have received full vaccination doses in the UAE and 14 days have passed since receiving the second dose and who have vaccination certificates approved by the official authorities in the country.”

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Further NCEMA clarifies the situations in which categories are entitled. Goa Airport Director Gagan Malik said the passenger traffic of domestic flights is also improving. He said the number of terminals is also being extended. For the convenience of passengers, parking facilities at the airport are being improved.

“Medical personnel working in the country will be excluded, including doctors, nurses, technicians from the vaccinated and non-vaccinated, and those working in the educational sector in the country who teach in universities, colleges, schools and institutes from the vaccinated and non-vaccinated categories,” NCEMA tweet read.

UAE is a major transit hub for travellers since it connects USA, Europe and African countries but due to COVID pandemic it was suspended from several months.

NCEMA is the nodal agency in UAE which looks after the COVID-related relaxations in case of travel from other countries and informs the passengers about the travel criteria.

 “All these categories will be required to submit a request on the website of the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship to obtain the necessary approvals in addition to vaccination certificates certified by the concerned authorities in the country for the categories from which these certificates are required,” the NCEMA said.

 Travel will resume for transit passengers from all countries from which transit passengers were previously stopped, provided that the traveler’s last destination is accepted and a laboratory examination is submitted within 72 hours from the time of departure, and the country’s airports will allocate special lounges for transit passengers.

 Meanwhile, on Thursday two flights had departed for the United Arab Emirates from Cochin International Airport Limited (CIAL).

Notably, scheduled international passenger flights were suspended in India on March 23, 2020, due to the COVID pandemic. India’s aviation watchdog Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has since extended the ban several times.

As per the earlier announcement, “the ban on international commercial flights to and from India was ending on July 31. The ban has now been extended till August 31,” DGCA said. India is currently operating international flights under Vande Bharat mission and Air Bubble with several countries.

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