The Emirates airlines on Sunday said it will operate repatriation flights from four additional Indian cities of Ahmedabad, Chennai, Hyderabad and Kolkata to Dubai till July 26. The Dubai-based airline had on July 11 announced that it would be operating special repatriation flights from Bengaluru, Kochi, Delhi, Mumbai and Thiruvananthapuram to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) between July 12 and July 26.
The airline will now be operating repatriation flights to Dubai from a total of nine Indian cities till July 26. In a press release on Sunday, the airline clarified that the repatriation flights between Kochi, Delhi, Mumbai, Thiruvananthapuram and Dubai are permitted to carry eligible passengers on both the directions.
However, the flights from Bengaluru, Ahmedabad, Chennai, Hyderabad and Kolkata to Dubai "will carry passengers only outbound from India", the airline said. The Ministry of Civil Aviation had on July 9 said that India and the UAE have come to a bilateral arrangement - also called air bubble - under which airlines of both the countries will operate international flights carrying eligible passengers.
Charter flights operated by UAE carriers would now be permitted to bring Indian citizens from the UAE to India and carry "ICA-approved UAE residents" on their return leg, the ministry had said. The ICA stands for the UAE''s Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship. On India to UAE journeys, all these flights will carry only those passengers who are destined for the Gulf country, it noted.
India resumed its domestic passenger flights from May 25 after a gap of two months due to the coronavirus-triggered lockdown.
While scheduled international passenger flights continue to remain suspended in the country since March 23, India has established bilateral air bubbles with four countries -- the US, the UAE, France and Germany -- in which airlines of both the countries are permitted to operate international passenger flights with certain restrictions. More than 10 lakh people have been infected and around 26,000 people have so far died due to coronavirus in India.