On 14 January, Emirates Airlines announced that it would temporarily suspend flights between Dubai and South Africa for 12 days. The initial flight ban was to be effective for the period 16 to 28 January.
The Dubai-based airline which was well established in South Africa prior to the onset of the pandemic flew to Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town. Emirates Airlines was forced to keep pushing back the restart date of flights on its South African routes as a result of prolonged travel and flight restrictions imposed against South Africa by UAE authorities.
While Emirates has still been operating flights to South Africa during the period of its flight suspensions, it was unable to carry SA nationals on its aircraft due to the flight and travel ban which had been imposed by Dubai’s Supreme Committee of Crisis and Disaster Management – in an attempt to limit the spread of the 501y.v2 variant of the virus in Dubai.
The airline has now announced that it will be restarting scheduled passenger flights between Dubai and three countries. According to Business Standard, Emirates will once again be able to carry South African, Nigerian and Indian passengers on its flights as a result of the easing of regulations by Dubai authorities.
“Emirates welcomes the latest protocols and measures announced by Dubai’s Supreme Committee of Crisis and Disaster Management to allow the safe resumption of passenger travel from South Africa, Nigeria and India to Dubai and onwards,” an airline spokesperson said.
News24 reports that the global slump in international travel has impacted the successful Middle East carrier. Prolonged flight and travel bans have cost the airline dearly. Emirates announced a USD 6 billion (R 86bn) loss for the financial year ended 31 March.
Emirates has lost market share in countries like South Africa, where airlines such as Qatar Airways have been working hard to fill the gap by earning passenger confidence and trust. Qatar Airways has ramped up its operations across South Africa over the period while Emirates Airlines had suspended its flights to the country.
A statement issued by the government of Dubai states that only vaccinated South Africans who have received two doses of an approved vaccine will be able to enter Dubai. These passengers will have to present a negative PCR test result (not older than 48 hours) at departure and will be required to undergo another PCR test on arrival in Dubai.
BREAKING: #Emirates will resume carrying passengers from South Africa, Nigeria and India from 23rd June. This after months of no passenger travel from SA to Dubai.
— Heidi Giokos (@HeidiGiokos) June 19, 2021
South Africans connecting travelling to other destinations with Emirates Airlines must comply with the entry protocols and requirements of those countries.