Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 5 June 2020

A complete guide to passenger flights in and out of the UAE: Emirates adds Manila flight in June

Everything you need to know about repatriation flights and those for returning residents with Emirates, Etihad, Flydubai and Air Arabia

Commercial passenger flights in and out of Dubai and Abu Dhabi were grounded on March 24, but UAE airlines are operating outbound repatriation flights for those in the country trying to get home and Emirates and Etihad have also started inbound flights for residents and nationals trying to return to the UAE.

What are repatriation flights?

They are government-approved services intended to take people back to their home countries.

The majority of repatriation flights will only accept passengers who are permanent residents or citizens of a destination, while some may take travellers who are from neighbouring countries so they can then make their way home.

How can I book a repatriation flight?

Most passengers can book these flights online via an airline's website, and travellers typically do not need permission from their embassies to travel.

Repatriation flights are generally non-refundable and destination changes are typically not allowed.

The situation is changing by the hour, so it is strongly advised to check your eligibility to travel before booking a ticket for one of these special services. Check with the airline and also review regulations listed on the website for the International Air Transport Association.

What about the flights for residents and nationals returning to the UAE?

Emirates and Etihad are operating special passenger services for nationals and residents of the UAE who want to return to the country.

Travellers who wish to fly back to Dubai or Abu Dhabi must have approval from UAE authorities before booking such a flight. This can be applied for via the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship.

If applications are successful, residents will receive an approval code and a letter from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. These documents are required before travellers can book incoming flights. UAE citizenship or residency is also required (remember, residency visas that expired after March 1, 2020 have been extended until the end of December 2020).

"Expats who have their visa expiring after March 1, 2020, will have them valid until the end of December this year whether they are inside or outside the country," said Brig Khamis Al Kaabi, of the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship last month.

How can I book a flight back to the UAE?

Bookings for return flights can be made online via Emirates or via Etihad's call centre. These flights cannot be booked via travel agents.

Etihad will request the approval code from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs before allowing travellers to book a flight.

Emirates allows travellers to book flights online, but all passengers must show a letter of approval at check-in. Passengers who do not have this will be denied boarding.

Online check-in is not available and travellers will be pre-assigned seats following social distancing rules. If you are travelling as a family, you can advise staff of this upon check-in and operational teams will allocate seating accordingly where possible. No cabin baggage is allowed on flights other than handbags, laptop bags, briefcases and baby items.

Upon arrival in Dubai or Abu Dhabi, passengers will need to undertake a nasal swab test and pass thermal sensors. All incoming passengers must self-isolate for 14 days.

Here is everything you need to know about passenger flights to the UAE...

Emirates: To Dubai from London and Frankfurt

Emirates is operating inbound flights to Dubai from Germany and the UK.

From Frankfurt, flights are available on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays from May 11. One-way fares start from €591 (Dh2,364).

From London, Emirates will operate flights on Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays from May 10. One-way fares in economy class start from £551 (Dh2,511).

Etihad: One-off Madrid flight added

Etihad is operating inbound flights from 16 destinations to Abu Dhabi with services operating until Monday, June 15.

Europe

  • Amsterdam: Mondays and Wednesdays until June 15
  • Barcelona: Sundays until June 14
  • Dublin: Saturdays until June 13
  • Frankfurt: Sundays until June 14
  • Geneva: Saturdays until June 14
  • London: Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays until June 15
  • Madrid: Saturday, June 13
  • Milan: Sundays until June 14
  • Paris: Sundays until June 14

Asia

  • Jakarta: Fridays until June 12
  • Kuala Lumpur: Saturdays until June 13
  • Seoul: Fridays until June 12
  • Singapore: Wednesdays until June 10
  • Tokyo: Wednesdays until June 10

Oceania

  • Melbourne: Fridays until June 12
  • Sydney: Wednesdays from May 27 until June 10

Outbound repatriation flights: New Manila flight on June 5

Emirates: To Europe and Asia

All Emirates flights depart from Terminal 3 at the Dubai International Airport. The airline advises passengers to arrive at the airport three hours before departure time and to wear face masks and gloves.

Passengers can book flights directly on emirates.com or via their travel agent. Travellers can check the airline's travel essentials page to find out whether flights are operating to their homeland.

Europe

  • London: Every Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday from May 10 to May 31. Economy tickets start from Dh2,500.
  • Frankfurt: Every Saturday, Monday and Wednesday from May 11 to May 30. Fares in economy start from Dh2,500.

Asia

  • Manila: Friday, June 5, subject to government approval.
  • Tokyo: Friday, May 15 with one-way fares from Dh3,600.

Flydubai: Naples and Bucharest latest additions

Dubai’s low-cost airline is offering repatriation flights to destinations in Europe and Asia from Dubai. Only economy-class tickets are available and fares include 20kg checked baggage allowance.

All Flydubai repatriation flights will operate from Terminal 2 at Dubai International Airport. Travellers can book flights online. All scheduled repatriation flights are subject to final government approval and the airline will focus on repatriation and cargo flights until at least Thursday, June 4.

One-way fares from Dh1,500

  • Kyrgyzstan: To Bishkek on Sunday, May 17, fares from Dh1,500
  • Rwanda: To Kigali on Wednesday, May 20, fares from Dh1,799
  • Albania: To Tirana on Thursday, May 21, fares from Dh2,600. Travellers trying to return to Montenegro or Kosovo may be allowed to fly to Albania and travel onward from there.
  • Italy: To Naples on Monday, May 25, fares from Dh2,850
  • Romania: To Bucharest on Tuesday, May 26 with fares from Dh2,200

Etihad: Flights to 17 destinations

Etihad repatriation flights can be booked on the airline’s website. Etihad 
Repatriation flights can be booked on the airline’s website. Etihad

Etihad Airways, the national airline for the UAE, has announced it will operate additional special passenger flights from Abu Dhabi to 17 destinations.

Tickets can be booked on Etihad’s website. Because of the airline’s social distancing rules, online check-in and seat selection is not available.

Here is a breakdown of the additional special services, though scheduling remains subject to change:

Europe

  • Amsterdam: Wednesdays and Fridays until May 29 then Mondays and Wednesdays until June 15
  • Barcelona: Sundays until June 14
  • Brussels: Fridays and Sundays until June 14
  • Dublin: Saturdays until June 13
  • Frankfurt: Sundays until June 14
  • Geneva: Saturdays until June 13
  • London: Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays until June 15
  • Madrid: Saturday, June 13
  • Milan: Sundays until June 14
  • Paris: Sundays until June 14
  • Zurich: Sundays until June 14

Asia

  • Jakarta: Thursdays until June 11
  • Kuala Lumpur: Saturdays until June 13
  • Melbourne: Wednesday, May 20, Friday May 22, Wednesday, May 27 then Thursdays until June 11
  • Seoul: Saturdays and Thursdays until June 13
  • Singapore: Tuesdays until June 9
  • Tokyo: Mondays until June 8

The Abu Dhabi airline plans to gradually restart all of its passenger flights after June 16 as travel restrictions ease.

Air Arabia: repatriation flights to Iran

Air Arabia has started operating repatriation flights.Courtesy of Air Arabia.
Air Arabia will commence repatriation flights from April. Air Arabia

Budget airline Air Arabia operated outbound passenger services from Sharjah. The first repatriation flight flew to Lar in Iran on Thursday, April 23.

Air Arabia announced a longer list of destinations for a mix of cargo and passenger flights including Afghanistan, Iran, Oman, Kuwait, Bahrain, Sudan, Egypt, India and Nepal.

All repatriation flights depart from Sharjah International Airport but there are currently no repatriation flights scheduled with Air Arabia. Updates will be announced on the airline's webiste.

Updated: May 31, 2020 04:11 PM

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