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Coronavirus

Dubai’s Emirates restricts UK flights to Heathrow, Birmingham amid travel curbs

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Dubai’s Emirates airline will restrict its UK flights to London Heathrow and Birmingham as it continues to operate a reduced flying schedule amid the COVID-19 pandemic, a spokesperson for the carrier told Al Arabiya English on Monday.

While the airline had been allowing passengers to also book tickets to London Gatwick for later in the year – despite the carrier not currently operating flights to the UKs second busiest airport – Emirates have now confirmed that, at present, it remains to only operate to two UK airports; London Heathrow and Birmingham.

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The airline had allowed bookings given the fluidity of COVID-19 restrictions in the UK.

However Britain’s strict quarantine requirements remain in place.

Britain allowed international travel to resume in May, but nearly all major destinations like Spain, France, Italy and the US were left off the ‘green’ safe list. Those visiting ‘amber’ countries must quarantine for 10 days on their return and take multiple tests. ‘Red’ countries - such as the United Arab Emirates - have tougher rules.

In a statement, Emirates said: “Emirates is operating to and from the UK and is accepting eligible travelers to London Heathrow and Birmingham under special conditions. Understandably, the airline is serving its gateways in the UK with a reduced flying schedule due to ongoing travel restrictions in place.”

“Full schedules are available on emirates.com and Emirates will continue to monitor and make additional adjustments as UK travel guidelines and entry conditions evolve. Customers with affected travel plans are urged to go to emirates.com for alternative booking options.”

On Friday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he was very confident that he would be able to lift remaining coronavirus restrictions on his new target date of July 19, based on the most recent data.

On Thursday, Emirates airline announced it will operate close to 90 percent of its pre-pandemic network by the end of July as it restores more destinations and increases flights on other routes over the summer.

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The Dubai state carrier, which reported a record $5.5 billion loss last week, said it was encouraged by countries reopening to visitors, forecasting strong demand during the peak summer travel season.

Emirates will operate 880 weekly services to 124 passenger destinations by the end of July, up from 115 today and compared to a pre-pandemic passenger network of 143 destinations, it said.

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