Dubai’s Emirates airlines has processed nearly 650,000 refund requests worth over 1.9 billion dirhams ($517 million) over the past two months as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, a statement from the airline issued Thursday read.
In April, the airline announced it had around half a million refund requests pending, and that it would use its cash reserves to speed up processing. Emirates also said that it would expand its processing capability to get through the backlog from an average of 35,000 a month. In the statement Thursday, the airline said it was now processing nearly 200,000 requests a month.
“This pandemic is a black swan event no-one expected, impacting travelers and hitting the airline and travel industry hard … It is tough times for everyone, but we are committed to doing what's right by our customers,” Emirates’ Chief Commercial Officer Adnan Kazim said in the statement.
“That’s why we ringfenced cash to honor refunds, and invested resources to expedite processing. Our average processing time for refunds has reduced from 90 days to 60, and as we see lower volumes of new requests we expect this rate to further improve,” he said.
Kazim added that the airline still has over 500,000 refund requests pending but it expects to clear those within the next two months.
On Sunday, the airline brought its total network up to 52 destinations for July, as it slowly builds up destinations following coronavirus lockdown.
Starting July 7, travelers will be able to visit Dubai for business or leisure following an announcement made last week as authorities continue easing coronavirus restrictions.
Travelers must comply with preventative measures. Individuals visiting Dubai are required to present an international health insurance policy that covers coronavirus illness, their recent COVID-19 test results and a completed health declaration form.
The UAE suspended all passenger and transit flights to and from the country on March 23 in effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus.