Britain is banning direct passenger flights to and from the United Arab Emirates from Friday, shutting down the world’s busiest international airline route from Dubai to London. Britain said it was adding the United Arab Emirates, Burundi and Rwanda to its coronavirus travel ban list because of worries over the spread of a more contagious and potentially vaccine-resistant COVID-19 variant first identified in South Africa.
Emirates and Etihad Airways said on their websites they would suspend all UK passenger flights from 1300 GMT on Friday when the ban takes effect. Dubai airport, in a statement, advised passengers booked on flights due to arrive in the UK after the ban comes into effect to not go to the airport and instead contact their airline. The UK transport department advised British nationals currently in the United Arab Emirates to make use of indirect commercial airline routes if they wished to return to Britain. The move will cause chaos for many travellers hoping to return from or via the UAE, as well as many British expatriates who live in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and the other Emirates. The move seems likely to erode confidence in committing to travel still further, after government ministers warned against booking 2021 holidays.
The government has yet to reveals its plans for hotel quarantine, including a starting date. But travellers from all countries on the “red list” – now amounting to 33 with the latest additions – will be obliged to pay for 10 days in what ministers call “managed self-isolation”.