The UAE should be off UK's red list “very soon” – Emirates chairman
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The UAE should be off UK’s red list “very soon” – Emirates chairman

The UAE should be off UK’s red list “very soon” – Emirates chairman

He pointed to the fact that there are over 150,000 people from the UK currently living in the UAE

Dubai airport

The UAE should be off the UK’s red list very soon, Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, chairman of Emirates told media on Monday, along the sidelines of the Arabian Travel Market 2021.

“Our officials are already speaking and taking that very seriously; talking to the government and to the officials there to make sure that we should be very soon off the red list,” Sheikh Ahmed told CNBC.

He pointed to the fact that there are over 150,000 people from the UK currently living in the UAE and that the easing of travel restrictions will allow these individuals to visit their home country more easily.

The UK added the UAE to its red list in January this year. “If you have been in a country or territory on the red list in the last 10 days you will only be allowed to enter the UK if you are a British or Irish National, or you have residence rights in the UK,” says an advisory on the UK’s Department of Transport website.

Read: Covid-19: UK indefinitely bans all passenger flights from UAE starting January 29

Apart from taking a Covid-19 test prior to travelling to the UK, those eligible to travel to the UK must quarantine 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.

A key point that Sheikh Saeed noted as to why the UAE should be taken off the red list is because of the extensive free national vaccination campaign currently underway in the UAE. As of May 17, the UAE’s Ministry of Health and Prevention said that the total number of doses administered stands at 11,489,475 with a vaccine distribution rate of 116.17 doses per 100 people.

“I think first of all, you have to prove to the world that we are in the top three vaccinated (countries). That’s nearly 12 million people have been vaccinated so far, and in the UAE you have only nine 9.5 million people who live here. So that really should make the UK government think that we should be off the red list.”

However, British Transport secretary Grant Shapps said last month that the UAE was primarily included on the red list because of it serving as a major transit hub for airlines Emirates and Etihad.

Read also: UAE could continue to remain on UK’s ‘red list’ for travel

In a retort to that statement, Emirates president Tim Clark said, “Leaving us on the red list for reasons of transit doesn’t make any sense because [passengers] can just go through other hubs. It compromises our United Kingdom operation for Emirates. It’s a real pity if they keep us on the red list.”

Adnan Kazim, Emirates’ chief commercial officer, told Gulf Business earlier this week that although the carrier has resumed flights to 120 destinations, it is still currently operating at roughly 30-35 per cent of its capacity.

Read more: Dubai’s Emirates not looking at any layoffs as it looks to gradually ramp up operations

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