Emiratis and residents of the U.A.E. can now book their flights back home through Emirates and Etihad. During the government lockdown period, all flights to and from the UAE were suspended for an initial period of 2 weeks, beginning 25th March. As the uncertainty over the spread of COVID-19 continued, the suspension was extended for a longer period. Flights to repatriate stranded tourists and travellers were permitted to leave the country, but incoming flights were not allowed.
Processing of travel permits
It was only towards the end of April that travel permits, to allow stranded key workers and UAE residents to return back to the U.A.E., were processed. Essential workers like healthcare professionals and other frontline workers were prioritised. These included teachers, airline workers, as well as university students who were separated from their families.
Flights back to Dubai and Abu Dhabi resume operations
Both airlines are now operating limited passenger flights back to their respective hubs. As flights during the pandemic have a special seating arrangement to allow social distancing measures, seats can quickly sell out. On the Emirates website, sold out seats for a flight will show an N/A message, while Etihad will show “sold out”.
Residents and nationals who wish to come back home need a prior ICA approval and must present their permit to travel from the authorities upon check-in. If you do not have your unique ICA approval number, you will not be allowed to board your flight. Cabin baggages will also not be permitted on these flights, and you will be required to have your own face mask and gloves.
Entry restrictions are stringent at the moment, in order to ensure that the novel coronavirus (SARS-COV2) spread is contained. You need to subject yourself to a mandatory Dubai Health Authority (DHA) testing upon arrival at the Emirate. You will also undergo a required 14-day quarantine and will have another follow-up test after this period. For those arriving in Abu Dhabi, they will undergo a Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) and thermal testing, and will also need to self-isolate for the same amount of time.