Airline major IndiGo's UAE bound flights have been cancelled for a week. Industry insiders alleged that the airline ferried few passengers, who violated travel testing norms for entering the UAE. The airline in a statement said that all flights to the gulf country have been cancelled due to operational issues.

"Due to operational issues, all IndiGo flights to UAE stand cancelled till August 24, 2021," the airline said in a statement. "We have informed all our passengers and will support them with refunds or accommodation in other flights once we resume operations."

UAE mandates COVID negative test

IndiGo promoters' differences threaten services

UAE recently eased restrictions on travel, allowing permanent residents to enter the country. But as a precautionary measure to contain the spread of COVID-19, passengers must carry a negative COVID-19 RT-PCR test report not older than 48 hours before departure. Furthermore, another RT-PCR test is to be done at the airport a few hours before the flight, for which passengers are required to arrive at the airport six hours prior to the flight.

At the departure airport, airlines must check the test reports before boarding the passengers. Once the passenger lands in UAE, the documents are once again checked. The rapid PCR test requirement came into effect from August 5, 2021. In addition, passengers require an approval letter from UAE authorities for travel.

Passengers falter, airlines pay the price

covid test

As a result of a few faltering passengers, IndiGo is the one to pay the price. As reports allege, a few passengers boarded IndiGo without undergoing tests, but couldn't bypass UAE airport authorities' radar. Now, all IndiGo flights to the UAE have been cancelled for a week, and hindered travel plans of many more passengers who were scheduled to travel.

"The actions of a few cost not only the airlines, but so many passengers. At a time when COVID-19 pandemic is a global concern, faltering passengers also bring a bad name to the country, which is totally unacceptable," Rahul Ghosh, a businessman who frequently travels to the UAE, told IBTimes.

Another observer cautioned that "people should follow the law of the land and adhere to strict COVID protocols, especially when travelling abroad. IndiGo is now paying a hefty price because of some passengers who thought they could just clear the international requirements undetected."