Less than three days after being handed a one-week ban by the UAE, IndiGo is resuming flights to the country. The low-cost giant has announced that flights will resume tonight at 01:30 AM IST (20th August). The decision will ensure thousands of passengers will be able to continue their journeys without disruption this week.
IndiGo’s ban was originally set to last until 24th August but has been cut short today. Photo: Dylan Agbagni via Wikimedia Commons
In a rapid 72 hours, IndiGo went from being banned from flying to the UAE for a week to having its air rights resorted. While the restrictions originally applied from 17th to 24th of August, IndiGo has announced that flights will restart from tonight (20th August) at 01:30 IST (20:00 UTC).
This is the second time since last year when an Indian airline has had its ban reduced within days. Photo: Getty Images
IndiGo did not detail how it gained permission to restart flights to the UAE and avoid the week-long ban. In a statement to Simple Flying, the carrier said,
“IndiGo will recommence flight operations between India and UAE from 0130 IST (2000 UTC) tonight. We have informed all our passengers and any inconvenience caused is regretted.”
The carrier was equally cryptic about its one-week ban from the UAE authorities, which we reported yesterday. At the time, IndiGo said,
“Due to operational issues, all IndiGo flights to UAE stand canceled till August 24, 2021…We have informed all our passengers and will support them with refunds or accommodation in other flights once we resume operations.”
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According to reports, IndiGo was banned after it carried passengers to the UAE who had not finished their pre-flight testing. Currently, all arrivals from India must take a rapid PCR test at the airport within six hours of departure as part of the strict entry requirements. However, since an unknown number of IndiGo passengers reportedly landed without this test, the authorities swiftly ordered a one-week ban.
However, fast forward three days and IndiGo’s scores of daily flights will be back in action. While the three-day ban would have left many frustrated, it’s a far cry from being locked out of the airline’s biggest international market for a week. It’s unclear what changed in the interim to repeal the decision.
The UAE is one of the busiest markets from India, with over two million tourists and tens of millions of transit passengers. Photo: Getty Images
A similar situation ensued last year with Air India Express. The airline received a 15-day ban from UAE authorities after knowingly carrying two COVID-positive passengers. However, this was revoked just over a day later, and flights continued operating the same. It seems IndiGo has managed to wrangle a similar fate from the country’s regulators to continue flying.
Before the pandemic, banning an airline was reserved for only the most serious of safety incidents. However, nowadays, countries globally employ bans to punish airlines that do not follow the rules or carry too many infected passengers into their country. Hong Kong, China, and the UAE have all used bans several times to deal with errors. Hopefully, these actions will prevent further issues in the future.
What do you think about the UAE reversing its ban on IndiGo? Let us know in the comments!
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