Emirates, Etihad to resume transit flights after UAE lifts suspension

Emirates, Etihad to resume transit flights after UAE lifts suspension

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Emirates and Etihad Airways will resume some transit flights after the United Arab Emirates (UAE) lifted a suspension on services where passengers stop off in the country to change planes, or for refuelling.

Dubai’s Emirates, one of the world’s biggest long-haul airlines, said on Thursday it would operate transit flights to 29 destinations in Asia, Europe and North America by June 15.

It will also offer flights from Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad for travellers who wish to connect onwards to other Emirates destinations from June 8, the carrier said in a press statement.

Abu Dhabi’s Etihad, meanwhile, said it would carry transit passengers to 20 cities in Europe, Asia and Australia from June 10.

The suspension was lifted late on Wednesday for UAE carriers, more than two months after the Gulf Arab state halted all passenger flights in March as it introduced drastic measures to curb the spread of the new coronavirus.

It has since allowed a few, limited flights, while domestic restrictions such as the closure of shopping centres have been lifted.

Foreign citizens remain banned from entering the Gulf Arab state except those holding UAE residency, who require UAE government approval before returning.

Also on Thursday, Qatar Airways said it was gradually rebuilding its network and resuming flights to more than 40 destinations, including Bangkok, Barcelona and several cities in Pakistan.

The airline also announced in a statement the upcoming resumption of flights to other hubs including Berlin and New York.

Turkey plans to resume flights with 40 countries

Meanwhile, Turkey plans to resume flights with around 40 countries in June and has reached preliminary agreements for reciprocal air travel with 15 countries, Transport Minister Adil Karaismailoglu said on Thursday.

Turkey largely sealed off its borders as part of measures to contain the coronavirus outbreak. Domestic flights resumed on Monday to some provinces as Ankara eased restrictions after a significant drop in infection rates.

Karaismailoglu said flights would resume in five stages in June, adding Turkey was in talks with 92 countries on resuming flights in a safe manner.

“We believe that we have left behind an important point in the battle against the virus globally. Now, we have to continue our global ties and trade,” he said in a written statement.

Flights to Northern Cyprus, Bahrain, Bulgaria, Qatar and Greece will resume on June 10, he said. Flights to 17 destinations, including Germany, Austria, Croatia, and Singapore will restart on June 15. Flights to a further 16 countries will begin on June 20, 22 and 25, including to South Korea, Qatar, the Netherlands, Norway and Belgium, he added.

The 15 countries with which Ankara has reached a preliminary agreement to resume reciprocal flights include Italy, Sudan, the UAE, Albania, Belarus, Jordan and Morocco.

Germany said on Wednesday it was talking to Ankara about reviewing travel restrictions but was awaiting a recommendation from the European Union.

The virus has killed 4,609 people in Turkey, with more than 165,000 infections so far.

The coronavirus pandemic, which has seen countries around the world shut their borders as they went into lockdown, has decimated the global airline industry as demand was crushed.

Many countries continue to enforce tight entry restrictions, including some countries banning foreign visitors. Airlines around the world have warned it will take years for travel demand to recover.__Dawn.com

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