Scores of Israeli travellers 'trapped' in Dubai airport over visa issues

Scores of Israeli travellers 'trapped' in Dubai airport over visa issues
Israeli passengers who landed in Dubai were temporarily held at the airport before being allowed to enter the UAE.
2 min read
08 December, 2020
Fly Dubai has apologised to passengers for the delay. [Getty]
Over 150 Israeli tourists were held at Dubai Airport on Monday for several hours after visa regulations changed and left them stranded at the UAE's main air hub, Israeli media reports said.

Israeli Channel 12 quoted tourists saying they were held at the airport after a change in visa regulations, which prevented them from entering into the UAE. 

According to later reports, the issue was soon resolved.

The passengers were allowed to enter Dubai after "nerve-racking" hours, during which they were prevented from leaving the airport.

FlyDubai flight FZ1628 departed from Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv and landed in Dubai at 6am on Monday. After they landed, passengers who only held Israeli passports were not immediately granted entry to the UAE, which had recently signed a normalisation agreement with Israel.

Israeli foreign ministry spokesman Lior Haiat said that passengers would be allowed to enter the country after filling out an e-Visa application. 

The news has prompted an apology from Fly Dubai. 

"In response to recent media reports circulating on the entry of Israeli citizens to UAE, FlyDubai has apologised to the affected passengers who experienced a delay on arrival to Dubai on Monday," Dubai-based Gulf News cited the UAE ministry of foreign affairs as saying.

"We apologise to the 155 passengers who were delayed on arrival this morning. We are reviewing the reasons behind the delay and fully understand that this was inconvenient to our passengers' schedules. This is not the standard of service we expect for any of our passengers and we are also revalidating the processes and procedures to prevent any delays to subsequent flights," reports cited a FlyDubai spokesperson saying.

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The reports surfaced days after the UAE announced it will "activate tourist entry visas through airlines and travel and tourism offices for Israeli passport holders".

The measure was put in place until the two countries finalise a mutual visa waiver agreement. The same will apply to UAE nationals visiting Israel.

In September, the UAE became the third Arab country to normalise ties with Israel following Egypt in 1979 and Jordan in 1994.

Bahrain and Sudan have also agreed to normalise relations, despite an Arab agreement that Israel should only be recognised after an independent Palestinian state is established.

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