Chandigarh International Airport in the state of Punjab, India, was the epicentre of non-compliance in relation to Covid-19 regulations. Consequently, 30 passengers who had booked to fly to Sharjah Airport in the United Arab Emirates on 24th September 2021, were denied boarding.
Indeed, Immigration Officers at Chandigarh Airport had deemed that these passengers had failed to comply with the Covid-19 guidance provided by the United Arab Emirates, in order to fly to the region. The crux of these guidelines is that you must either present a negative RT-PCR Covid-19 test or demonstrate evidence that you are fully vaccinated. The scenes at Chandigarh Airport soon descended into chaos, as the airport’s officials needed to call upon the immediate services of the local police force, as many of the passengers denied boarding, began to resort to verbally abusing airport staff.
The operator of the flight from Chandigarh to Sharjah, Air India Express, had earlier in the day landed in Chandigarh at 2:55 PM Indian Standard Time (IST). The return flight back to Sharjah was scheduled to leave at 6 PM IST that same day. Chandigarh Airport provides Covid-19 testing facilities that can provide results within as little as 30 minutes. Therefore, there is no legitimate excuse for the aforementioned passengers not meeting the Covid-19 requirements in order to be deemed as fit to fly. In total, 131 passengers were allowed to board the flight to Sharjah.
The CEO of Chandigarh Airport International Limited, Ajay Bhardwaj, reiterated the implementations put in place to ensure passengers travelling between the cities were easily able to comply with Covid-19 guidance. He said, “Each test will cost 1,727 Indian Rupees (approximately US $23). The facility will enable passengers to get tested as and when required. The lab has been set up in line with the guidelines issued by the UAE government, which include mandatory testing of all passengers, who need to present their report on arrival,”
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