Emirates cancels flights as UK adds Burundi, Rwanda, UAE to travel ban list
London, Jan. 29, 2021 (AltAfrica)-Britain has added the United Arab Emirates, Burundi and Rwanda to its coronavirus travel ban list from Friday, prompting Emirates and Etihad Airways to suspend all their UK flights.
British Transport Minister Grant Shapps announced the new bans on Thursday, with the two Middle Eastern airlines announcing flight suspensions a few hours later.
Shapps said the decision, which come into effect from 1300 GMT on Friday, was a response to new evidence showing the likely spread of a coronavirus variant first identified in South Africa to the newly banned countries.
“This means people who have been in or transited through these countries will be denied entry, except British, Irish and third country nationals with residence rights who must self-isolate for ten days at home,” Shapps said on Twitter.
The Transport Department said there was a ban on direct passenger flights from the United Arab Emirates.
Dubai-based Emirates said on its website that it would suspend passenger services between Dubai and all of its UK points, including London, Birmingham, Glasgow and Manchester, effective 1300 GMT on Friday until further notice.
Abu Dhabi-based Etihad also said on its website that all UK flights would be suspended from 1300 GMT on Friday.
Both airlines normally carry large numbers of passengers connecting from Britain to destinations like Australia through their airport hubs.
The U.K. transport department advised British nationals currently in the United Arab Emirates to make use of indirect commercial airline routes if they wished to return to Britain.
Dubai to London was the world’s busiest international route in January with 190,365 scheduled seats over the month, according to airline data provider OAG.
Emirates and Etihad normally carry large numbers of passengers connecting from Britain to destinations like Australia through their airport hubs, meaning the decision to cancel those flights will have far-reaching implications.
The Australian government said it will add more charter flights from Britain if needed as a result of the Emirates and Etihad cancellations.
Reuters | @SABCNews