June 24, 2022

UAE-India travel: New COVID-19 guidelines at Mumbai and New Delhi airports to meet demand

Omicron cases lead major airports in India to issue updated guidelines for all arrivals. As a result, demand in the area has fallen, as have ticket prices.
Image credit: AFP

Dubai: Flight bookings to and from India could drop after the country’s main airports adopted new COVID-19-related guidelines for all passengers.

Delhi and Mumbai – India’s largest air hubs – have announced revised guidelines for passenger arrivals due to a spike in Omicron cases. “New bookings have slowed down and families seem reluctant to travel with the new Covid rules, it’s too complicated for them,” said a spokesperson for Regal Tours in Dubai.

Ticket prices on flights from the United Arab Emirates to India have come down, with prices for Delhi and Mumbai available at Dh400-Dh500 compared to Dh1,000-Dh2,000 just a few weeks ago.

New travel rules

For arrivals at Mumbai airport

* All passengers residing in Mumbai will undergo a mandatory 7 days home quarantine after arriving in Mumbai.

* They will have to perform an RT PCR test on the 7th day and if negative, the traveler will monitor themselves for an additional 7 days.

* If the test is positive, passengers will be transferred to an institutional quarantine facility in accordance with current guidelines for international travelers.

* Connecting travelers to other states will be permitted to take connecting flights.

For arrivals in New Delhi

* Passengers must book their flight at least 24 hours in advance and include all mandatory information – this is required by the Indian Embassy.

* Take a PCR test at any approved medical facility a maximum of 72 hours before the flight departure time. Children under the age of five are exempt from the test unless they show symptoms of COVID-19.

* All passengers who need to be tested upon arrival must pre-book their COVID-19 PCR test while completing their Self-Report Form (SDF) in the Air Suvidha section.

Success for business travel

The new measures will affect the flow of tourists between the two countries and affect all business trips.

“The seven-day home quarantine for passengers arriving in Mumbai will not only impact leisure travel, but also almost certainly kill any business trips that may have started to return,” Vinamra Longani said. , head of operations at Sarin & Co, a law company specializing in aircraft leasing and financing.

“As matters relating to public health fall under the jurisdiction of the respective state governments of India, they have the right to add – or dilute – the guidelines issued in light of Covid for international passengers by the government. from India. “

With these latest restrictions, the chances of resuming normal commercial flights look even bleaker now. “India had announced the resumption of scheduled international operations – this was to be done in a calibrated manner depending on the Covid situation in the respective countries,” Longani said.

Ending the ‘bubble’ deal would have allowed UAE airlines to operate at 100% capacity before Covid and significantly reduce fares on the road. “This plan had to be canceled due to Omicron and as it stands there is no clarity on when scheduled flights would resume,” Longani said.

Cases are pouring in

As of Wednesday, the total number of Omicron variants had reached 781 in India. The worrying variant, which was first detected in South Africa in November, has now spread to 21 states across the country. Delhi has the highest Omicron number with 238 cases, followed by Maharashtra with 167 cases.

Passengers respond

While some sections of the media and government have praised states for taking timely action, passengers differed in enthusiasm.

“Once again, Mumbai BMC and the city’s 3- or 2-star hotels are going to start making money,” a Facebook user said. “They will be making booths inside Mumbai airport to attract passengers arriving from other countries – all monkey business in the name of the new variant of the coronavirus.”

Mumbai-based celebrity chef Saransh Goila has been put to the test after testing positive recently. “What followed after my positive report on Covid was a roller coaster ride,” Goila said in an Instagram post. “I was moved from home quarantine to institutional quarantine to a hospital.

“It’s not my choice of recovery location as nothing comes close to my home, but I’m recovering – I’m just waiting to get home to meet my family and cats,” said Goila, who has 559,000. subscribers on the social media platform.