As the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advises British holidaymakers to return home before borders begin to close, Etihad suspends all flights to and from Abu Dhabi for at least two weeks.

As of Wednesday 25th March 2020, ‘all Etihad Airways services to, from and via the UAE will be temporarily suspended’ according to the Abu Dhabi- based airline. The decision was made following a government directive to restrict movement in an attempt to stem the spread of COVID-19. UAE national’s diplomatic passport holders and ‘domestic helpers of UAE nationals with UAE API clearance’ will be among the limited passengers able to fly to the country from airports. This could prove problematic for British travellers with connecting flights in Abu Dhabi from Asia, Africa or Australia. Etihad has announced passengers who have “booked on a connecting flight via Abu Dhabi to anywhere else on our network, you will not be able to travel and should not go to the airport.”

Those who are currently in the UAE should be able to board a return flight home from Abu Dhabi prior to the suspension of flights which will occur at 11:59pm (local time) on 25th March 2020. In the meantime, Etihad is advising passengers to check the status of their flights using the flight tracker link on its website whilst it is not yet known whether the ban will affect Dubai as well.

Travel between countries will become more difficult over the coming, which is why the FCO is urging British holidaymakers to return home whilst international flights are still available.

Passengers who are due to travel on the airline over the coming days should contact Etihad directly to make immediate travel arrangements. Failing this, more information can be accessed on its website.  Holidaymakers should also contact their tour operators in the event they are unable to board returning flights home.

If customers require additional accommodation or incur additional costs, they should contact their airline or tour operator to see what compensation and arrangements can be made for them. Those who are still unable to recover the costs from alternative sources can check to see what cover is available under their travel insurance policy.