Kerala expatriates take Uzbekistan route to beat Gulf travel ban

Kerala expatriates take Uzbekistan route to beat Gulf travel ban

The temporary suspension of flights from India was announced following a surge in cases in the second wave of Covid-19.

Expatriates seem to go to any length to overcome the current ban on flights from India to many Gulf countries including Oman and UAE. Travel agencies have started taking bookings for tickets in charter flights from Kerala to Oman via Uzbekistan, which includes a 14-day stay in the Central Asian country.

Travel agencies have been looking at new ways to overcome the ban on direct flights from India to UAE and Oman that came into force on April 24 after the transit routes initially used to reach Gulf through countries like Nepal and Maldives were blocked after those countries tightened norms for Indian passengers.

The temporary suspension of flights from India was announced following a surge in cases in the second wave of Covid-19.

Alhind Travels is accepting bookings from passengers intending to travel from Kozhikode to Oman via Uzbekistan on May 25. The travel firm will fly the passenger in a chartered flight from Calicut International Airport to Tashkent airport and would fly them to Muscat after they complete their 14-day quarantine.

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"Many people are desperate to travel to the Gulf on account of job and business-related reasons. Currently, people who have to undertake emergency travel to UAE and and Saudi Arabia are travelling via Bahrain after undergoing 14-day quarantine there before flying to their destinations. But it is difficult to get visas from Bahrain and it costs around Rs 1.1 lakh for the package," Yassir Mundodan, regional manager of Alhind Travels, said, reports Times of India.

"The advantage of transit via Uzbekistan is the country does not insist on 14-day quarantine and passengers can complete their quarantine there without much difficulty. They can fly to Oman after conducting an RT-PCR test after 14 days. Within a day, we received 20 bookings for the 180 seats in the charter flight," he added. The fare package including air tickets and the 14-day stay in Tashkent would cost Rs 1.35 lakh.

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Oman had announced an indefinite suspension on flights from India from April 24 onwards while UAE had imposed a ten-day ban on the night of April 24 which has been extended further without specifying when it will be lifted.

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