India-UAE flights: Only these passengers can fly on charter jets
With the UAE's General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) laying down the law against pooling and seat selling on charter jets from India to the UAE, travel agencies and charter operators are falling in line and are now going by the book.
The GCCA, after becoming aware of pooling and per-seat selling on chartered jets from India to the UAE, issued a circular on Friday restricting operators from pooling or selling per seat.
The GCAA further added that operators who have been hired for pooling or 'per seat offer' will be banned from operating in the UAE. The GCAA is collecting all the information required from local authorities to verify flight and passenger information.
And a travel agent of a popular internet-based travel agency again clarified on who can fly on these charter jets.
Raheesh Babu, general manager of Musafir.com, said that families, UAE citizens, diplomats, official delegations, golden residency visa holders, and flights of businessmen, are the only categories who can avail these charter flights.
“Families, corporates who want to bring their employees, provided all the documents required, are in order, can fly on chartered flights from India to the UAE. The other exemptions are UAE citizens, diplomats, official delegations, golden residency visa holders, and flights of businessmen," Babu told Khaleej Times.
In fact, his company is facilitating a Dubai-based corporate in ferrying their staff from India on May 26.
“One of the corporates wants to fly their staff, who are stranded in India, to the UAE, on a chartered jet. We applied for permission and are awaiting approval,” he revealed.
With India caught in the midst of a deadly second wave of the Covid-19 virus, passenger entry from India to the UAE, one of the world’s busiest air corridors, was suspended on April 25.
Since then, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka have been added to the list, in addition to Nigeria and South Africa.
There has been huge demand for charter passenger jets from India as well as Pakistan, especially from high-net-worth businessmen.
“The cost is approximately $45,000 for a fully chartered flight from India,” Babu said.
“From what we have seen in the market, apart from India, there is a considerable demand from Pakistan for charter flights, especially from Karachi. There is some demand from Bangladesh and Nepal as well. There have been some travel agents who have operated charter flights, especially from Karachi. It is a bit cheaper than India, especially because of the flight duration, which is lesser. It roughly costs about $30,000,” he added.
“There is high demand from India, but they are all high-net-worth businessmen, who are flying their families or corporate customers who are getting their senior management staff. Pakistan accounts for about 20 per cent so far,” Babu explained further.
In a previous circular issued earlier this month, the GCAA had clarified that no more than eight passengers will be allowed onboard these charter jets.
“Depending on the size of the aircraft, business jets can accommodate anything between six to 35 passengers. However, irrespective of the size of the charter, the requirements for business aircraft or small-body private jets clearly state that the number of passengers on board a flight cannot be more than eight passengers,” the GCAA had said in the circular.
Only crew (including flight and ground crew), UAE citizens; UAE long-term residence visa holders (also named golden visa) holding a valid PCR test, diplomatic personnel holding a valid PCR test; any official delegations’ personnel holding a valid PCR test; and any person holding a valid PCR test and transported on a business aircraft are allowed to enter the UAE.
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