These are the latest updates…

Amid a rise in Covid-19 cases and concerns surrounding the Omicron variant, Emirates suspended a number of flights to Dubai at the end of last year. More recently, the airline has suspended flights to several US destinations, which the airline credits to ‘operational concerns associated with the planned deployment of 5G mobile network services in the US at certain airports’.

At present, Emirates has suspended flights from the below countries to Dubai until further notice:

  • South Africa: effective from November 29
  • Mozambique: effective from November 29
  • Botswana: effective from November 29
  • Namibia: effective from November 29
  • Zimbabwe: effective from November 29
  • Lesotho: effective from November 29
  • Eswatini: effective from November 29
  • Kenya: effective from December 26
  • Ethiopia: effective from December 26
  • Tanzania (including Zanzibar): effective December 26
  • Nigeria: effective from December 26
  • Chicago: effective January 20
  • Dallas: effective January 20
  • Miami: effective January 20
  • Newark: effective January 20
  • Orlando: effective January 20
  • Seattle: effective January 20
  • Boston: effective January 20
  • Houston: effective January 20
  • San Francisco: effective January 20

The restrictions on African flights apply only to inbound and transit passengers, and outbound passenger operations from Dubai to these destinations remain unaffected.

As per a statement on Emirates’ website, the airline is “working closely with aircraft manufacturers and the relevant authorities to alleviate operational concerns,” and hopes to resume services to the US “as soon as possible.”

Exemptions

UAE Nationals, Diplomatic missions, official delegations and golden visa holders are exempt from the flight bans that affect the Africa travel routes, and still able to travel to Dubai, but must adhere to strict, specialist entry requirements – including up to four PCR tests. As per NCEMA guidelines, exempt arrivals must undergo a PCR test within 48 hours of departure for Dubai, a rapid PCR test at the airport taken within 6 hours of departure, and a further PCR test on arrival at DXB. A 10-day quarantine and a PCR test on the ninth day of entering the country is required for UAE nationals, diplomatic missions and golden residence holders. Official delegations are required to quarantine at the airport until their on-arrival test result is received, and are exempt from a 10-day quarantine.

For those who aren’t exempt

Passengers that don’t qualify for an exemption as per the above rules are still able to travel back to Dubai, but must first spend at least 14 days in another country not on the banned list.