Dubai Airports boss blasts UK journey ban as site visitors slumps close to 70%

Plane operated by Emirates, at Dubai Worldwide Airport within the United Arab Emirates.

Christopher Pike | Bloomberg | Getty Photos

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — The chief govt of Dubai Airports panned a choice by authorities in the UK to maintain the UAE on its worldwide journey “pink” listing, as new knowledge from the group exhibits passenger site visitors by way of the airport fell 67.8% within the first quarter.  

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

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

“I can not be too sincere with you about my ideas about these feedback,” Griffiths stated when requested to reply. “We have made very robust representations to the British authorities concerning the credibility of the numbers right here and the best way we’re dealing with every part.”  

Griffiths known as for “a much more proactive relationship” to handle the confusion surrounding the ruling, as public frustration grows. The UAE stays on the U.Ok. pink listing, although Abu Dhabi has the U.Ok. by itself “inexperienced” listing of journey nations. 

“There are nations on the (United Kingdom) inexperienced listing that we consider have not taken something just like the care and the variety of measures that we have put in place right here in Dubai to maintain everybody secure,” Griffiths stated. “It is simply not sensible by way of how we’ll get again to life as we as soon as knew it.” 

Spokespersons for the U.Ok.’s International Workplace and Transport Ministry weren’t instantly out there for remark when contacted by CNBC. Final week, Shapps stated: “We’re not limiting the UAE because of the degree of coronavirus within the UAE. The difficulty is certainly one of transit.”

The U.Ok. International Workplace at the moment “advises towards all however important journey to the entire of the United Arab Emirates based mostly on the present evaluation of COVID-19 dangers.”

A well being employee checks a person’s temperature earlier than receiving a dose of vaccine towards the coronavirus at a vaccination heart arrange on the Dubai Worldwide Monetary Heart within the Gulf emirate of Dubai, on February 3, 2021. The United Arab Emirates has suffered a spike in instances after the vacation interval.

Photograph by KARIM SAHIB | AFP by way of Getty Photos

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 language-made Sinopharm vaccine, U.Ok.-developed AstraZeneca, the American-German made Pfizer jab or Russia’s Sputnik V, whereas residents of Abu Dhabi might entry solely 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 an absence of revealed knowledge on its part 3 trials. It has not but been accepted by the World Well being Group. 

Financial and private prices 

The U.Ok. listing, which might be reviewed in coming weeks, lists 40 excessive threat nations deemed too harmful to journey, together with India, which is in a state of nationwide disaster because it offers with surging an infection charges and a mounting dying toll.   

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

“It is virtually unthinkable not having a strong air-bridge of flights, 28 providers a day, between right here and the U.Ok.,” Griffiths stated. “The irony, after all, is which you could fly to Scotland however you may’t fly to England.”

“It is clearly one thing that everybody right here in Dubai could be very involved to resolve in a short time.” 

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

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