The UK bans direct flights from the UAE and closes the world’s busiest international route

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Emirates aircraft can be seen on the tarmac at Dubai International Airport in the United Arab Emirates. (Reuters)

London / Sydney:

Great Britain bans direct passenger flights to and from the United Arab Emirates from Friday, closing the world‘s busiest international airline from Dubai to London.

The UK said it was adding the United Arab Emirates, Burundi and Rwanda to its list of coronavirus travel bans because of concerns about the spread of a contagious and potentially vaccine-resistant variant of COVID-19, first identified in South Africa.

“This means that people who have been to or have traveled through these countries will be refused entry, with the exception of British, Irish and resident third-country nationals who are required to self-isolate at home for ten days,” the British said Transport Secretary Grant Shapps on Twitter on Thursday.

Emirates and Etihad Airways said on their websites they would suspend all UK passenger flights from 1300 GMT on Friday when the ban goes into effect. A statement from Dubai Airport advised passengers booked on flights after the ban came into force not to fly to the airport and instead to contact their airline.

The UK Transportation Department recommended that UK nationals currently in the United Arab Emirates use indirect commercial airlines if they want to return to the UK.

Due to the border closings caused by COVID-19, Dubai to London was the busiest international route in the world in January with 190,365 planned seats per month, according to airline data provider OAG.

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Emirates and Etihad usually carry large numbers of passengers flying from the UK to destinations like Australia via their airport hubs, which means the decision to cancel these flights will have far-reaching implications.

The Australian government said it would add more charter flights from the UK if necessary due to the Emirates and Etihad cancellations.

Eran Ben-Avraham, an Australian stranded in the UK due to strict restrictions on arrivals in Australia, said his ways to get home have been steadily decreasing. “

Right now there are only three options for us to fly Qatar, ANA or Singapore Airlines, “he told Australian Broadcasting Corporation /

“Every day it’s getting harder to get home. Return flights cost between £ 4,000 ($ 5,487).”

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