Middle East airlines welcome amber list decision
Two leading Middle Eastern airlines have welcomed a decision to add the United Arab Emirates and Qatar to the amber list for travellers to England.
The changes will come into effect on Sunday.
Qatar Airways said it was seeing bookings soar since the announcement last night.
Qatar Airways Group chief executive, Akbar Al Baker, said: “We are very proud to be playing our part in the reopening of our country to visitors in the safest way possible and supporting the next step in the development of Qatar’s tourism industry.
“Surrounded by crystal waters and a unique biodiverse ecosystem, Qatar has so much to offer when it comes to rediscovering nature, stellar architecture and offering a world that is inspired by modernism and traditions alike.
“The city and desert tours will allow our passengers to enjoy every step of their journey with us, and we hope many get to experience Qatar’s renowned hospitality, culture and heritage.”
At the same time, Emirates said the decision would allow for the recovery of the domestic tourism sector.
Adnan Kazim, Emirates chief commercial officer, added: “Since the announcement last evening, we’ve seen a huge surge in queries from customers desperate to travel to see their families, planning their kids’ return for the new school term, as well as their postponed business or holiday travel.
“Emirates is reviewing our operations to various points in the UK and any service restart will be announced in the usual fashion.”
He added: “The United Arab Emirates currently has one of the most successful vaccination programmes in the world – with over 79 per cent of the population having received one dose and over 71 per cent already fully vaccinated.
“Given the low numbers of coronavirus cases in the UAE, the extensive testing at Dubai International Airport, and the careful health and safety measures in place across the passenger journey, we hope to see the UAE moving to the ‘green’ list soon.
“We have been working closely with partners around the world, including IATA, to help passengers easily and securely manage their travel in line with any government requirements for Covid-19 testing or vaccine information and will continue to work with the UK government to safely resume travel.”