Emirates is the flag carrier of the UAE
Emirates is the flag carrier of the UAE

Airline flies from Dubai to Mumbai with one passenger onboard

The UAE has closed its borders to travellers from India

Helen Coffey
Wednesday 26 May 2021 12:26

A traveller got a private jet experience on a commercial flight after discovering they were the only passenger onboard.

An Emirates service from Mumbai, India, to Dubai flew with a single customer onboard the 350-seater Boeing 777 aircraft due to a tightening of entry restrictions to the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

“Only the following categories of passengers will be allowed entry to Dubai: members of diplomatic missions, holders of UAE golden visa, UAE nationals, passengers exempted and/or granted permission to enter the UAE by the appropriate authorities as well as passengers travelling on a business flight who have a valid Covid-19 PCR test certificate,” reads the advice on the Emirates website.

“All passengers who have travelled from or transited through India, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Sri Lanka in the last 14 days will not be accepted for travel to or transfer through Dubai from any other point except for returning UAE nationals.”

Mumbai Airport reportedly confirmed that just one passenger flew aboard flight EK-501 on 19 May.

“EK-501 Emirates plane operated from Mumbai airport to Dubai with one passenger. The flight took off at 4.30am IST,” Mumbai Airport sources told Indian news agency Asian News International (ANI).

The UAE’s restrictions come as Covid-19 rates continue to soar in India due to a more transmissible coronavirus variant that appears to have originated there.

The same variant is causing concern in the UK, with rising infections in certain regions linked to the new mutation.

Last week, residents in eight Covid hotspots across the UK were told by the government not to travel outside their local areas and to avoid socialising indoors, in a move branded as “lockdown by stealth” by the Labour party.

The government has since done a U-turn on the advice, having seemingly failed to consult with the local authorities and public health bodies involved before issuing the new rules.

Travel guidance is being changed after the public backlash, the Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) has confirmed.

The health ministry said the wording would be amended so that it is clear that the latest recommendations are only advisory.

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