UK bans UAE flights, shutting world's busiest route

Britain is banning direct passenger flights to and from the United Arab Emirates, starting from Friday.

This will shut down the world's busiest international airline route from Dubai to London -- data over the month of January showed over 190,000 scheduled seats.

On top of the UAE, the UK is also banning flights from Burundi and Rwanda all in a bid to stop the spread of a coronavirus variant first found in South Africa.

Transport Minister Grant Shapps said on Thursday, via Twitter:

"People who have been in or transited through these countries will be denied entry, except British, Irish and third country nationals with residence."

The news also delivers a blow to countries that use the UAE for transit.

Emirates and Etihad normally carry large number of passengers connecting to destinations like Australia meaning canceling those flights will have far-reaching implications.

In response, the Australian government said it will add more charter flights from Britain if needed.