Indian expats first flight landed in UAE


Dubai: Flights from India to the UAE returned for the first time since March 19 on Sunday with a 10.30am arrival of a Delhi flight into Sharjah marking the first landing in a 15-day agreement between the two countries from July 12-26. 

Kamini Kannan who spearheaded a WhatsApp group of stranded Indians from the city of Bengaluru in the Indian state of Karnataka said, “I am so excited to come home to the UAE. My husband has been stuck in Dubai without me all these months and I can’t wait to see him. 

“I came to India on March 14 to see my daughter and attend to a personal emergency. A week later the UAE suspended its passenger flights. Initially I thought it would be for a couple of weeks, I did not think it would drag for so many months.” 

“A few days after the suspension was announced, I came across a Facebook page called UAE Expats Stuck Abroad and realised that there were many like me around the world stuck in India and all over the world,” she said.

Discovering the Facebook group prompted her to join a WhatsApp support group for those stuck in India. “At that time we must have been just about 100 people in the group,” she said. “I started getting involved with members and we started growing in number.” 

Kannan finally took the Emirates flight EK 531 from Kochi to Dubai on Sunday. The flight departed at 9.45am UAE time.

Chetan Shah, 44, from Nagpur said he had been stuck in Mumbai, India since March 9.

Shah who works as regional operations manager said he went to India for his father’s bypass surgery and was stuck in the country as a result.

“My wife and eight-year-old daughter were left in Dubai. So my journey which was meant to be for a week ended up lasting for four months. It has been a rollercoaster ride for me the last few months trying to manage three things at a time. My remote family in Dubai, remote office work and medical emergency for my father. The biggest saving grace has been my company in Dubai.” 

Shah is taking the Emirates flight EK 507 from Mumbai and is expected to arrive on Sunday evening. Shah said he has been trying to get the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship (ICA) approval to travel back home since the time it was open for application in April, but faced multiple rejections. Finally, I managed to get GDRFA approval which came through really fast.” 

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