Few Gulf airlines have relaxed the COVID-19 testing requirements for Indian travellers, especially for the passengers travelling from Kolkata to Dubai.
On its website, Emirates had mentioned that the passengers from India travelling via its airline need to have valid PCR test result from a test taken within 48 hours, and another rapid test taken within six hours of departure. Interestingly, the airline has specified that the guideline applies to ‘all cities except Kolkata’.
A similar statement seems to be in circulation from Air India. According to Khaleej Times, an Abu Dhabi-based travel agent has confirmed that he has received a directive from Air India stating the withdrawal of PCR tests for people who took the COVID-19 vaccination in India, and are flying home from the UAE.
Earlier, Air India Express said that it relaxed its travel update, citing that the travellers who have taken both jabs of the COVID-19 vaccination in India are exempted from taking RT-PCR tests before departing to India from the UAE.
New Relaxations in COVID-19 Travel Guidelines Could Be Pilot Tests
While the airlines did not specify the reasons for sudden changes in COVID-19 travel guidelines to and from Gulf countries, some executives suspect the new relaxations as ‘pilot tests’ for future amendments.
“The withdrawal of the rapid PCR test within six hours before departure from Kolkata has been introduced in the past few days. It could be a pilot phase for further relaxations,” an executive said to Khaleej Times.
“Following the historic economic agreement on Friday, easing travel requirements is expected. I have received a circular from Air India Express on the withdrawal of PCR tests for people who took the Covid-19 vaccine in India and are flying home from the UAE. Other Indian airlines are expected to make amendments soon. Also, the UAE may be added to the Indian exemption list of pre-travel PCR tests,” said another travel agent said to the publication.
India has eliminated the mandatory pre-travel RT-PCR test for passengers arriving from 87 countries, but UAE is not added in the list of those countries. According to the executive, easing travel guidelines can be exempted from more airlines in the coming days.