The Union Civil Aviation ministry on Thursday said India has decided to resume limited flights to and from the United Arab Emirates from July 12. These will be repatriation flights, and the arrangement will be in place till July 26, following which it will be reviewed, the ministry said.

The repatriation flights will enable the return of Indians and UAE citizens stranded in each other’s countries. The ministry said chartered flights operated by UAE carriers will bring stranded Indian citizens back to India. The same flights will be permitted to carry ICA-approved UAE residents back to their country, the ministry added. The ICA is UAE’s Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship, which issues an identity card to all citizens and residents.

Indian carriers operating repatriation flights from UAE will be allowed to carry ICA-approved UAE residents back to their country while travelling from India to UAE, the government said. However, in India-UAE journeys, only UAE residents will be allowed on board.

India suspended all flights, domestic and international, in March prior to entering a complete lockdown to limit the spread of the coronavirus. The ban on domestic flights was partially lifted on May 25, following an easing of the lockdown. India has also been repatriating its citizens stranded in foreign countries under the “Vande Bharat Mission”.

UAE Ambassador to India Ahmed Al Banna on Wednesday said that he expected some India-UAE flights for Indians with residency or work permits in his country to resume soon, PTI reported.

“One question is asked on what about the Indian nationals who are in India and they have valid residency and valid work permits for the UAE?” Banna said at during a webinar organised by the PHD Chamber of Commerce in New Delhi. “When can they fly back from India to the UAE? The problem is not in the UAE. The problem actually, or the point, is in India. India has not opened up their airports.”

He added that the UAE government has been in talks with India’s Ministry of External Affairs and Ministry of Civil Aviation over the matter. Banna also said that apart from an ICA approval, visitors to the UAE need to have their coronavirus test done within 96 hours from their date of arrival in the country.

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