News headlines

Excerpts from UAE Dailies

Indian passports to be issued in Delhi

DUBAI - OCT 09: THE Consulate General of India in Dubai is awaiting instructions on the plan to process all passports at a centralised facility in New Delhi.

A media report originating from the Indian capital had stated that the Indian government has decided to stop supplying blank passports to its overseas missions since there have been cases of many of these booklets going missing in transit.

Venu Rajamony, India's consul general in Dubai told The Gulf Today that he was yet to hear from the government.

Under the existing system, a passport issued in India is renewed by the consulate in about 40 days since it has to be referred to the issuing office. One that is issued in Dubai is issued in five working days.

The Indian consulate, Dubai, being the busiest mission in the region, with thousands of passports being either issued or renewed every month, the new system would mean that expatriates using its services would have to wait for their booklets to be printed in Delhi.

Reports from Delhi state that certain technological innovations are expected to be in place to speed up the process of issuing fresh booklets. However, the foreign missions will have powers to issue travel documents in case of emergencies.

The decision to stop sending blank booklets to overseas missions follows incidents of blank passports going missing. The Comptroller and Auditor General has in May tabled its findings in the Indian parliament citing instances of passports and visa stickers went missing while in transit to 16 Indian missions from the India Security Press in Nashik, Maharashtra, from where they were printed.

Since blank passports are easier to tamper with, the government has now decided to stop them being transported to foreign missions from where they are issued to Indian nationals.

Only MoL can ban a worker

ABU DHABI — OCT. 09: Only the Ministry of Labour (MoL) is authorised to ban anybody from seeking employment in the country.

In case of threats from their employers the workers should lodge a complaint with the ministry, which will look into the matter and decide whether it should impose a ban on the employee or not, according to Assistant Under-secretary in the Ministry of Labour Obaid Rashid Al Zahmi.

At the Open Day yesterday, Al Zahmi stated that there were a number of workers who had requested the ministry to exempt them from the mandatory ban which their employers were threatening to impose on them.

Al Zahmi also approved the transfer of an Indian worker from an industrial company to another because the machine which the worker was supposed to handle was not available in the company.


DNRD to remain open during Eid holidays

DUBAI — OCT. 09: The Dubai Naturalisation and Residency Department will remain open from 10am to 2pm daily from Thursday to Monday, except on Friday, during the Eid Al Fitr holidays.

Brigadier Mohammed Ahmed Al Marri, DNRD Director, said a number of staff members have been assigned duty during Eid Al Fitr to process as many applications as possible.

“To serve public interest and avoid any potential rush from customers once Eid holidays are over, we deemed it proper to remain open on Eid Al Fitr.”

“During these holidays, our staff will try and process as many applications as possible,” he added.

Only urgent applications would be processed. “The work on Eid days will be restricted to cancelling or renewing of residence visas, issuing pending entry permits in addition to cancellation of residence visas or issuance of necessary permits in case of death and illness,” he said.

Brig Al Marri said the Entry Permits Section for visit and tourist visas and the housemaid section will be open on Eid.

“Printed visas will be issued when needed. Holders of expired residence visas may also approach DNRD to cancel their visas if they want to travel. The Naturalisation and Passport Section will also remain open for nationals. The Follow-up and Investigation, Establishment Card and the Online services sections will also be working on these days,” he added.


UAE freezes suspected terror funds

ABU DHABI — OCT. 09: The UAE said yesterday it had frozen 17 bank accounts totalling $1.3 million because of suspected links to terrorism financing.

“Some accounts have been frozen in line with UN resolutions,” said Abdulrahim Al Awadi, head of the anti-money laundering unit at the UAE central bank. “They have been referred to a special committee at the United Nations,” he said in Abu Dhabi.

Since 2003, the UAE has also required informal money transfer outlets, known as hawala brokers, to register with the central bank. It has approved 246 hawala brokers and is processing the applications of 70 more, Awadi said.


Eid flights sold out!

DUBAI — OCT. 09: UAE residents thinking about booking a last-minute flight to get away for Eid Al Fitr will likely find themselves holidaying at home as travel agents report flights this weekend have been sold out since the early days of Ramadan.

Travel agents generally said airfares had not been high this Eid but residents trying to travel home or for a holiday had struggled to find a seat.

Alpha Travel and Holidays general manager Fabian Fernandes said flight seats began selling quickly as soon as Ramadan started with residents predicting a 30-day holy month.    “They’ve been sold out,” Fernandes said. “As soon as they knew when Eid would fall, Thursday, Friday and Saturday flights have been fully booked.” Fernandes said flight bookings on Eid holidays had always been difficult, especially on Eid Al Fitr. “It’s not just leisure. Some people are going home to visit their family, such as Europe, so even those flights are full,” he said.

Lama Desert Tours and Cruises managing partner Kulwant Singh confirmed his agency had seen a similar scenario with airfares reasonable but seat availability low.  “After summer there’s generally a drop in airfares till winter,” Singh said.

“But seats and availability are a little less this Eid.”

Al Rais Travel Holidays manager Munir Sherwani said residents had booked Eid Al Fitr trips particularly early this year as the holiday had fallen close to summer.

“No more seats are available for Eid this year because bookings came in early,” he said. Airlines also confirmed full flights this Eid Al Fitr.

An Emirates spokesperson said the airline had seen a boost in sales with Eid approaching.

“With Eid round the corner, our bookings have registered a 10 to 15 per cent increase,” she said.

Travel agents have generally reported closer destinations to be preferred for short getaways during Eid but the Emirates spokesperson said even long-haul destinations were proving popular. The most popular destinations for travel during the Eid holidays are Amman, Beirut, Cairo, Damascus, Jeddah, Pakistan and India. We have also recorded a noticeable increase in bookings to long-haul destinations.”

Air Arabia spokesperson Housam Raydan said there were high load factors this Eid.

“All through the summer we’ve witnessed high load factors and especially on special occasions like Eid,” Raydan said.

Raydan said local trips were popular with people returning to their home country often to visit family during Eid.


Can Kang take off on time? 
DUBAI - OCT. 09: A company that claims to be the UAE’s fifth national airline has yet to comply with federal licensing requirements – even though it is due to launch next month. In August, businessman Paul Kang announced plans to operate a low-cost carrier – Kang Pacific Airlines – from Fujairah International Airport. He even announced an IPO.

He said the airline would start services this month. But the launch was delayed until November as Kang awaited the release of traffic rights and clearances from India and the Philippines.

However, the head of the federal department, which authorises commercial air transport operations in the UAE, confirmed Kang Pacific had not yet submitted the documents required to obtain a licence.

“Representatives of Kang approached us six months ago,” said Mohammed Abu Baker Farea, Director of the General Civil Aviation Authority’s Aviation Safety and Security Department.

“They made an initial inquiry about the procedures to acquire an air operator’s certificate (AOC), which is a must for any airline wishing to operate commercial flights to and from the UAE. Until now they have not submitted any application or documents.” The five-phase procedure – which consists of pre- and formal applications, document evaluation, inspection and certification – takes an average of six months. However, Kang, from India, said he was pressing ahead with his plans. He told Emirates Today: “We can still fly because we have a trade licence issued by the Government of Fujairah.

“Also we are in the process of acquiring an AOC from the Philippines, which we will use pending the release of our AOC from the UAE.” Kang Pacific plans to lease McDonnell Douglas DC-10 aircraft to fly three times a week to Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka, the Philippines and the United Kingdom. However, it may not initially be able to use Fujairah airport as a hub.

“A trade licence does not give a company the authority to operate commercial flights in Fujairah,” said the airport’s general manager, Dr Khaled Al Mazroui.

“We cannot allow the entry or exit of any aircraft unless the airline has complied with the requirements of the federal authority, which are based on the International Civil Aviation Authority’s policies.” Al Mazroui stressed Kang Pacific was not a government airline. He said: “We want to clarify it is a private carrier.” A Fujairah Civil Aviation official said it had called Kang Pacific’s attention to the use of the tagline “Airline of Fujairah” on the carrier’s website.

Farea of the federal authority said: “If any firm intends to be an official carrier of a emirate, it has to go through a special procedure that involves obtaining the support of the host emirate and approval from the UAE



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