<p>Mangaluru International Airport. (File photo)<br></p>
MANGALURU: With Rapid RT-PCR test, one of the chief requirement for travelers to enter the United Arab Emirates (UAE) not being made available at the Mangaluru International Airport (MIA), passengers who depend on the second busiest airport in the state will have to look elsewhere to fly to Dubai – via Kempegowda International Airport (KIA), Bengaluru or the Cochin International Airport (CIA), Kochi.
Effective from August 5, some categories of passengers will be granted permission to enter the UAE – which includes mainly holding a valid UAE resident visa, having been vaccinated in the UAE and completed 14 days after the second dose. For some categories like students, health professionals, vaccination is not compulsory.
While flying the traveler has to have a valid negative Covid-19 Test certificate issued within 48 hours of collecting the sample and Rapid (RT-PCR) test conducted before boarding the aircraft from the departure country.
Sources in the airlines said the DGCA will not allow airlines to schedule flights unless the requirements of the destination country are met, while the authorities in charge at the airport of providing the facility are scrambling to get the Rapid RT-PCR vendors at the last minute.
Though a vendor had visited the MIA a few days back, there was no progress. Sources indicated that it would take at least a week to get the facility up and running, if vendors are willing. For travelers, who had the convenience of an international airport at the their backyard, it will be an ordeal as they will have to travel with all their luggage to Bengaluru and Kochi, get the RT-PCR done- wait for a few hours and then again get the rapid RT-PCR done at the airport. While RT-PCR costs Rs 800 at both KIA and CIA, the rapid-RT-PCR is four times costlier than the former.