Etihad has doubled down on its commitment to Aussies stranded abroad, as the UK suspends flights operating through the UAE.
The UAE, along with Burundi and Rwanda, were added to the UK’s red list on Friday, preventing travel to the UK from those destinations in an attempt to stop the spread of the South African variant of COVID-19.
Despite these restrictions, Etihad said it will continue to operate for passengers permitted to depart the UK for travel to Sydney and Melbourne.
As a result, all flights departing the UK remain unaffected and will operate as scheduled, keeping a vital link between Europe and Australia open for urgent travel.
“As an international airline committed to serving Australia’s travel needs, helping to keep families connected and repatriate Australians stranded abroad has been a priority since the start of this crisis,” said Sarah Built, vice president for Australia and South Asia at Etihad.
“Operating on the front lines, we are working to assist passengers on a daily basis who have been left unable to return home or reunite with their families.
“Despite the challenges we face, we remain firmly committed to the Australian market and want to assure our guests we will continue to fly to Australia, supporting them to return home as best we can.
“While we do everything we can to accommodate our guests, we do comply with the Australian government mandate to significantly limit passenger arrivals per flight allowed to disembark at Sydney and Melbourne airports.”
The airline has been flying vital cargo to London and Manchester, positioning the aircraft to pick up passengers who wish to depart and allow them to return to Australia, within the federal government’s mandated passenger caps.
As per UK government advice, British and Irish nationals and third-country nationals with residence rights in the UK can only travel internationally when they have a legally permitted reason to leave home. If travellers are visiting the UK, they may return home.
Etihad is working closely with guests who have been impacted by the restrictions on flights to the UK to notify them of the changes to their itineraries and rearrange travel plans.