New Delhi: Last month, New Delhi-Dubai and Mumbai-Dubai were the third and eighth busiest international routes in the world, according to UK-based aviation data company OAG.
However, flights between India and Dubai dropped significantly in the month of May with at least two airplanes, of Air India and Emirates, flying from Mumbai to Dubai with just one passenger on board.
“It’s probably a case of good passenger load in one direction, say, when they flew from Dubai to Mumbai, and then poor on the return leg. The airline would have operated the return leg anyway, even with zero paying passengers on board,” an official from an Indian carrier was quoted as saying in an India Today report.
The second wave of coronavirus led to a record surge in cases across India and, therefore, several countries put restrictions on travellers from India. This included the UAE, which imposed a ban on 25 April and has extended it till 14 June.
Only those who hold UAE Golden Visas, UAE nationals and diplomats are exempted from this rule.
This was a boon for Oswald Raphael Rodrigues, who had received his UAE Golden Visa just two weeks before urgently flying to Mangalore on 11 May. His father was ailing in the ICU for a diabetes-related condition.
After scrambling for flights he was able to secure a ticket as the solitary passenger on an Air India flight. He paid Rs 38,000 for a business class ticket.
But this was not the first such incident. A few days ago, on 19 May, 40-year-old Golden visa holder Bhavesh Javeri was also the sole passenger on an Emirates flight from Mumbai to Dubai. He paid Rs 18,000 for an economy ticket.
Solitary flights to Dubai
According to Rodrigues, “Over the course of 10 days by God’s grace and our family prayers my dad had an amazing…