Dominic Raab said partnership with UAE is crucial during the pandemic
London, 13 May 2020, The National - Britain's foreign minister has praised the work of the UAE and Etihad during the coronavirus outbreak after it was announced the airline would be offering flights from Melbourne via Abu Dhabi from May 15.
Dominic Raab said it was “good news” that British travellers would be able to return home from Australia via the UAE.
He said that that “close partnership with our UAE friend[s]" was assisting London's efforts to repatriate its nationals from far-flung parts of the globe. He went on to offer thanks for his dealings with Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.
Mr Raab, who also holds the rank first secretary of state, was charged with leading the British government when Boris Johnson, the prime minister, was stricken with coronavirus and hospitalised.
British officials have publicly stressed that Etihad airlines had played a “crucial” role for its global efforts to respond to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Last month the UAE and UK agreed a deal that would see flights carrying stranded Britons home allowed to transit via the UAE. Patrick Moody, the UK’s ambassador to the UAE, said the agreement was “a result of the very close partnership between the UK and UAE Governments”.
As restrictions ease and lockdowns are wound down, the airline has sought to restore regular services that are safeguarded from the pandemic threat.
Etihad said an extensive sanitisation and safety programme has been brought in on flights and in airports.
"On board, we'll make sure you are seated with as much space as possible between every guest," it said when the Melbourne flight was announced.
The London to Melbourne leg will restart on May 21 and while in Abu Dhabi the transit passengers onboard will not leave the plane. - The National