Dubai Airports CEO expresses uncertainty over UAE being removed from UK’s travel red list soon
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Dubai Airports CEO expresses uncertainty over UAE being removed from UK’s travel red list soon

Dubai Airports CEO expresses uncertainty over UAE being removed from UK’s travel red list soon

Paul Griffiths added that the UAE is working on a vaccine passport system which will help facilitate travel

Paul Griffiths Dubai Airports CEO

Dubai Airports CEO Paul Griffiths has expressed his apprehensions over the possibility of the UK removing the UAE from its travel red list in the immediate future.

“I think the problem is that in the UK, the situation is not looking great. They were doing so well in containing the spread of Covid-19. But of course, recently that situation seems to be rather more challenging. So, I am not sure that the UK is going to change the status of the UAE. We’re obviously anticipating something happening at some stage in the future,” Griffiths told Becky Anderson on the CNN Connect the World show.

Griffiths statement comes a few weeks after Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, chairman of Dubai-based carrier Emirates, said that officials from the UAE were in discussions with their UK counterparts to ensure the country is taken off the UK’s red list after it was added to it in January this year.

Apart from taking a Covid-19 test prior to travelling to the UK, those eligible to travel there must isolate for 10 full days in a managed quarantine hotel upon arrival, and take a test on or before day two and on or after day eight of their quarantine.

Sheikh Saeed had previously noted that the main reason why the UAE should be taken off the red list is because of the extensive free national vaccination campaign currently underway in the country. As of Wednesday, June 2, the total number of doses administered in the UAE stands at 13,066,261, with a vaccine distribution rate of 132.11 doses per 100 people.

Griffiths pointed out that vaccine passports could be the way forward for a more full reopening of travel and necessary to encourage global mobility. “The encouraging news from the UAE is they are moving on a UAE-wide vaccine passport system, which I think is probably the long-term solution to travel corridors opening up again. And those digital systems should enable people to travel without having any problems at the airport because of course, testing works but it does require quite a lot of capacity for testing at the arrival airport. The vaccine passport system doesn’t require a physical check. So, it’s a more efficient way of traveling,” said Griffiths. “If we’re going to move towards that personal mobility we’ve all been missing for more than a year now, the vaccine passport, in my view, is the only way to get there.”

Read: Covid passports ‘inevitable’, says Dubai Airports chief

While seamless travel between the UAE and UK is still to take shape, the Italian government has recently decided to waive the 10-day quarantine requirement for all categories of travellers from the UAE, in favour of test-based travel protocols, with effect from June 2, 2021.

All passengers therefore arriving on flights from the UAE to the Italian airports of Rome/Fiumicino, Milan/Malpensa and Venice/Marco Polo are free to move throughout the country without restrictions, provided they have a negative Covid-19 test result dated not more than 48 hours before departure from the UAE.

Upon arrival in Italy, all passengers over the age of two years will be required to take a rapid antigen test. Those testing positive will have to undergo a period of isolation at a Covid-19 approved hotel local to their point of arrival.

Speaking about the Italian government’s decision to open quarantine-free travel between the UAE and Italy, Griffiths said: “In 2019 something like 660,000 points or point journeys happened between Italy and the UAE. And more than 2.2 million transit and point to point journeys happened between the two countries. So, it’s a very important development.”

“I think the corridor that we’ve agreed with Italy is a very positive step. And if further steps in merge, perhaps with the EU as a whole, and with the US over the next few weeks, perhaps that’ll give the UK government the courage and conviction actually to allow flights to restart between the UAE and the UK,” he added.

Griffiths added that he remains hopeful of global travel in major markets will begin to pick up imminently. “We’re hopeful that as soon as some of these major markets open up again, rather than being a trickle of a recovery, there will be a flood of demand because 4 billion people having been under lockdown over the last year are desperate to travel and the social and economic suffering that we’ve had as a result of reduced mobility, I think everyone’s felt the effect.”

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