Emirates said it would start flying from SA to Dubai this week – but now it won’t
- Emirates said it would “resume carrying passengers from South Africa” on Wednesday in line with relaxed travel regulations issued by Dubai’s Supreme Committee of Crisis and Disaster Management.
- Less than 48 hours after the announcement, Emirates now says its suspension of flights remains in place until at least 6 July.
- This isn’t Emirates’ first extension of South Africa’s outbound flight ban.
- But it is the airline’s quickest reversal.
- For more articles, go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.
Emirates will not be flying passengers out of South Africa, despite Dubai announcing that travel restrictions would be relaxed on Wednesday.
Emirates announced on Saturday that it looked “forward to facilitating travel from” South Africa, Nigeria, and India in line with revised regulations confirmed by Dubai’s Supreme Committee of Crisis and Disaster Management.
“Emirates welcomes the latest protocols and measures announced by Dubai's Supreme Committee of Crisis and Disaster Management to allow the safe resumption of passenger travel from South Africa, Nigeria and India to Dubai,” the United Arab Emirates’ (UAE) flag carrier said in statement.
The easing of inbound travel restrictions is due to come into effect on 23 June, ending a six-month travel ban imposed on South African visitors.
“We will resume carrying passengers from South Africa, Nigeria and India in accordance with these protocols from 23 June,” the airline added.
But less than 48 hours later, Emirates backtracked on its plan to resume flights from South Africa, announcing that the suspension would remain in place until at least 6 July. The same reversal has been applied to flights to and from Nigeria, with Emirates unable to provide a definitive return date. Flights from India are due to resume on 7 July.
“Given the dynamics of the situation, changes as such can happen,” Emirates said in response to criticism on social media.
The updated notice issued by Dubai noted that travellers from South Africa would need to be fully vaccinated against Covid-19 – with doses approved by the UAE – and submit a negative PCR test result to be allowed entry. Dubai has not amended these regulations despite Emirates saying that the sudden turnaround is a result of “government directives that restrict the entry of travellers originating from South Africa.”
This isn’t the first time Emirates has extended its suspension of flights from South Africa, although it is the quickest reversal of a decision to reopen the route. While South Africans remain unable to board outbound Emirates flights, the airline continues to operate its inbound route between Dubai and Johannesburg.
“Daily passenger flights to Johannesburg will operate as EK763, however, outbound passenger services on EK 764 remain suspended,” Emirates added on Monday.
(Compiled by Luke Daniel)
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