Dubai Airports boss blasts UK travel ban as ‘wrong,’ ‘not practical’ as traffic slumps by nearly 70%

Dubai Airports boss blasts UK travel ban as ‘wrong,’ ‘not practical’ as traffic slumps by nearly 70% [ad_1]

Aircraft operated by Emirates, at Dubai International Airport within the United Arab Emirates.

Christopher Pike | Bloomberg | Getty Images

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — The chief govt of Dubai Airports has panned a choice by authorities within the United Kingdom to maintain the UAE on its worldwide travel “red” listing, as new information from the group exhibits passenger traffic by means of the airport fell 67.8% within the first quarter.  

“I think the approach is wrong,” Dubai Airports CEO Paul Griffiths instructed Dubai Eye Radio on Thursday, expressing frustration on the rule which bans air travel or forces a pricey quarantine on arrival for 1000’s of Brits within the Emirates who wish to go house.   

Britain’s Transport Secretary Grant Shapps indicated the UAE might keep on the crimson listing on account of its standing as a world transit hub, regardless of falling instances and the world’s second-fastest vaccination price. 

“I can’t be too honest with you about my thoughts about those comments,” Griffiths stated when requested to reply to the transport secretary. “We’ve made very strong representations to the British government about the credibility of the numbers here and the way we’re handling everything,” he stated.  

Griffiths known as for “a far more proactive relationship” to deal with the confusion surrounding the ruling, as public frustration grows. The UAE stays on the U.Okay. crimson listing, regardless that Abu Dhabi has the U.Okay. by itself “green” listing of travel nations. 

“There are countries on the (United Kingdom) green list that we believe haven’t taken anything like the care and the number of measures that we’ve put in place here in Dubai to keep everyone safe,” Griffiths stated. “It’s just not practical in terms of how we’re going to get back to life as we once knew it,” he added. 

Spokespersons for the U.Okay.’s Foreign Office and Transport Ministry weren’t instantly obtainable for remark when contacted by CNBC. Last week, Shapps stated: “We’re not restricting the UAE due to the level of coronavirus in the UAE. The issue is one of transit.”

The U.Okay. Foreign Office at present “advises against all but essential travel to the whole of the United Arab Emirates based on the current assessment of COVID-19 risks.”

A well being employee checks a person’s temperature earlier than receiving a dose of vaccine in opposition to the coronavirus at a vaccination middle arrange on the Dubai International Financial Center within the Gulf emirate of Dubai, on February 3, 2021. The United Arab Emirates has suffered a spike in instances after the vacation interval.

Photo by KARIM SAHIB | AFP through Getty Images

The UAE has administered greater than 9.9 million vaccine doses out of its inhabitants of roughly 10 million individuals, solely behind Israel within the international vaccination race. Residents in Dubai can select from the Chinese-made Sinopharm vaccine, U.Okay.-developed AstraZeneca, the American-German made Pfizer jab or Russia’s Sputnik V, whereas residents of Abu Dhabi might solely entry Sinopharm till Pfizer was launched within the capital emirate final week. 

Some within the medical neighborhood have solid doubt on the efficacy of the Sinopharm shot, on account of conflicting figures from interim trials and a scarcity of printed information on its section 3 trials. It has not but been accepted by the World Health Organization. 

Economic and private prices 

The U.Okay. listing, which will probably be reviewed within the coming weeks, lists 40 excessive danger nations deemed too harmful to travel, together with India, which is in a state of nationwide disaster as it offers with surging an infection charges and a mounting loss of life toll.   

The ban additionally had actual world penalties for Dubai Airports, which claims London as a “key single city” for Dubai Airport passenger traffic. Before the pandemic, greater than 6 million individuals would fly between the 2 cities in a single yr, Griffiths stated.

“It’s almost unthinkable not having a solid air-bridge of flights, 28 services a day, between here and the U.K.,” Griffiths stated. “The irony, of course, is that you can fly to Scotland but you can’t fly to England,” he added.

“It’s obviously something that everyone here in Dubai is very concerned to resolve very quickly.” 

The determination additionally impacts lots of the roughly 120,000 U.Okay. nationals dwelling and dealing within the UAE and their relations, who’ve expressed confusion and anger, significantly over the lodge quarantine requirement which runs up a hefty price ticket of £1,750 ($2,428) per individual.

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