Emirates airlines has received approval from UAE authorities to “start flying a limited number of passenger flights” beginning April 6, the company’s Chairman and Chief Executive Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed al-Maktoum said on Twitter, following a period of grounded air travel due to the coronavirus pandemic.
These flights will intially only carry passengers outbound from the UAE with details “announced soon,” he added.
Over time, @Emirates looks forward to the gradual resumption of passenger services in line with lifting of travel & operational restrictions, including assurance of health measures to safeguard our people & customers. Their safety & well-being will always be our top priority. 2/2— HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum (@HHAhmedBinSaeed) April 2, 2020
In an interview with Al Arabiya, Emirates Chief Operating Officer Adel Ahmad al-Redha, said that around 10-15 flights would leave daily depending on permission of the airports and passenger demand.
“This is mainly a method for residents and visitors in the UAE to be able to go back to their home countries if they want to do so,” he said.
Plans are so far in place for flights to London, Frankfurt, Paris, Zurich, Brussels and others if permission is granted. Flights will only leave Dubai and not ferry passengers back to the Emirate as travel restrictions remain in place, al-Redha added.
The UAE suspended all passenger flights in and out of the Gulf Arab state on March 24 in a measure to combat the spread of the deadly coronavirus, officially known as COVID-19. On March 22, the announcement of the airport closure had been said to last two weeks.
“Additional examination and isolation arrangements will be taken later should flights resume in order to ensure the safety of passengers, air crews, and airport personnel and their protection from infection risks,” said a statement released on state news agency WAM at the time.
The coronavirus pandemic has infected over 930,000 globally, with over 47,000 dead. The economic fallout of the crisis has also been drastic, as countries have closed borders, shuttered businesses, and told people to stay at home.
The airline industry in particular has been particularly hard hit, with globally travel disappearing in the wake of containment measures. On Tuesday, it was announced that the Government of Dubai would inject equity into Emirates to alleviate the economic impacts of the coronavirus pandemic.
“Today, we renew our commitment to support a success story that started in the mid-1980s to reach its goal of sitting on the throne of global aviation. The Government of Dubai is committed to fully supporting @Emirates at this critical time & will inject equity into the company,” Dubai Crown Prince Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed al-Maktoum said in a Tweet.
The UAE has reported 814 infections of coronavirus, with eight deaths. Sixty-one have recovered.