Emirates has announced that it will be operating passenger flights to major international destinations from 21 May. It will also be offering connections in its Dubai hub, for flights between the UK and Australia.
This is great news for the airline and the aviation industry in general. The UAE government had banned international flights in late March, leaving Emirates to operate only repatriation and cargo flights. A limited number of flights were resumed in April, but they were mostly for repatriating citizens stuck abroad.
Emirates’ COO, Adel Al Redha, has said:
We are pleased to resume scheduled passenger services to these destinations, providing more options for customers to travel from the UAE to these cities, and also between the UK and Australia. We are working closely with the authorities to plan the resumption of operations to additional destinations.
With the decision, however, the airline has also issued strict health protocols for staff and passengers to follow. Dubai airport authorities will check temperatures of incoming passengers and employees, whereas the flight crew will wear PPEs to avoid direct exposure to travellers. Emirates’ fleet will be fitted with HEPA filters which “remove 99.97% of viruses and eliminate dust, allergens and germs” from the cabin. Other changes to in-flight services have also been made to reduce health hazards.
Recovery in the Middle East
The Middle East is showing signs of recovery from the global aviation recession, albeit rather slowly, and Emirates will play a key role in facilitating it. Recently, Etihad also announced a route between London and Melbourne via Abu Dhabi. Coupled with Emirates, the two carriers will lift Qatar’s burden of serving connecting flights between the East and West. Before these announcements, Doha served as the sole connecting hub for these flights.
Etihad has also announced inbound flights for Emiratis and passengers holding resident visas; from many destinations in Australia, Europe and Central Asia.
Emirates is planning to resume flights to even more destinations in the future, but this can only be made possible with mutual coordination between governments. Travel demand will also remain a key factor. Emirates is yet to receive a major blow from the crisis as it reported a 21% rise in profit in the previous financial year, but it has braced for impact in its next balance sheet.
Passengers will be able to book their seats from the official website.
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