Etihad to board only Emiratis and diplomats from foreign airports bound for Abu Dhabi

The airline said that guests currently within the UAE will still be able to depart from Abu Dhabi until 11.59pm on Wednesday, March 25

On Monday, March 23, Etihad Airways said that with immediate effect, passengers departing from international destinations would be denied boarding if they weren’t UAE nationals or diplomats, and that too only if the final destination of those travelers was Abu Dhabi.

The announcement by Etihad came on the same day that the UAE said that it would suspend all inbound and outbound passenger flights and the transit of airline passengers for two weeks in a decision that would take effect within 48 hours.

A statement on the Etihad website read: “Effective from 11.59pm on Wednesday 25 March, at the directive of the Government of the UAE, Etihad Airways will suspend all flights to, from and via Abu Dhabi for an initial period of 14 days.”

The airline advised all those who were booked on connecting flights via Abu Dhabi to not travel to the airport since they would be denied boarding at their initial point of departure.

“As a directive from authorities in Abu Dhabi, all transit travel through Abu Dhabi International Airport will be suspended as of 22:00 (UAE local time) on Monday 23 March. If you are booked on a connecting flight via Abu Dhabi to anywhere else on our network, you will not be able to travel,” said the statement.

“Flights by all airlines to, from and via Abu Dhabi will remain suspended until further notice from UAE regulatory authorities,” it added too.

However, the airline clarified that cargo and evacuation flights were exempt from this suspension.

Etihad said that guests currently within the UAE will still be able to depart Abu Dhabi until 11.59pm on March 25.

Meanwhile, the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship (ICA) in the UAE has announced that all visitors who arrived in the country and could not exit due to the closure of air and land borders, will be granted permission to stay legitimately in the country.

Read: Visitors to the UAE will not be affected by suspended flights – authority

The latest flight restrictions come at a time when the UAE and other countries around the world have put in place travel bans to contain the spread of the Covid-19 virus that has infected over 380,000 people worldwide, resulting in over 16,500 deaths.

Read: Covid-19: UAE reports 45 new cases, total tallies 198

On Monday, the UAE reported 45 new Covid-19 infections including an individual who arrived into the country and did not comply with quarantine instructions, thus transmitting the infection to 17 other people.