India-UAE flights: Why passengers have to reach airport 5-6 hours before departure
As India-UAE flights have resumed from August 7 under specific guidelines, airlines have started issuing directives for the passengers. Air India's subsidiary Air India Express on Wednesday issued guidelines asking passengers to reach the airports six hours in advance. A similar directive was issued by IndiGo earlier.
The UAE has mandated a negative PCR test of every passenger conducted not more than four hours before the flight. Because of this time stipulation, the tests have to be done at the source airports. "The teat counters will start 4 hours before the departure time and would close 2 hours prior to departure," the Air India Express said, asking flyers to reach the airports at least six hours prior to the scheduled departure.
This test is mandatory not only for passengers from India but also from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. This is the reason why many Pakistani fliers were stranded as there was no rapid PCR test facility in Pakistan airports. While Pakistan civil authorities said they were negotiating with the UAE authorities, reports said that Pakistan's Sialkot international airport has introduced a rapid PCR test facility which will be available from August 12.
After banning all passengers from India, including UAE residents, the UAE government in the first week of August decided to allow partial relaxation to Indian flyers. Apart from allowing transit passengers, the UAE also allowed UAE residents with residence proof, students, medical professionals and professionals working for the UAE government or government agencies.
UAE's national carrier Etihad Airways has updated its guidelines for passengers and said that UAE residents flying to Abu Dhabi from India must quarantine at home for 12 days. "When you arrive in Abu Dhabi, you will be required to quarantine for 12 days and wear a medically approved wristband for the duration of your quarantine," the revised protocol read. The passengers will also have to take a PCR test on arrival, on day six and day eleven.