Dubai airport on ‘recovery mode’ for next 48 hours


Passengers at Dubai International Airport will experience disruption and delays until Saturday in the aftermath of the crash-landing of an Emirates plane on Wednesday.

Parent company Dubai Airports said it will be “on recovery mode” for the next 48 hours from Thursday afternoon, with “efforts in full swing to clear backlogged flights”.

At lunchtime on Thursday, Emirates airline warned passengers to expect disruptions for 36 hours.

 In the wake of the crash of Emirates EK521 on Wednesday, a number of the Dubai carrier’s flights were either cancelled or diverted to other airports, affecting tens of thousands of passengers.

“Flight disruptions expected for the next 36 hours,” said an Emirates statement.

“Due to this incident, Dubai International Airport was closed for about six hours on August 3 and a number of flights were cancelled, delayed or diverted.

 “Dubai International Airport gradually started to resume operations at approximately 1830hrs local time last night.”

A Dubai Airports statement said that flights have resumed but arrivals and departures are restricted as only one of the airport’s two runway is in use.

To compensate, airport authorities are maximising the use of Al Maktoum International Airport.

“Dubai Airports is working with the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigner Affairs and Dubai Police to assist passengers with issues relating to visa expiry and lost passports.

 “Due to reduced capacity, we are having to prioritise arriving flights over departing flights to make the best use of available runway to clear the backlog.”

In all, Emirates said 27 of their flights were cancelled on Wednesday and there were knock-on delays and rescheduling across the network.

“Twenty-three flights were diverted to alternative airports – Sharjah, Al Maktoum International (DWC), Fujairah, Al Ain, Muscat and Bahrain,” the airline said.

 “In total, over 23,000 Emirates passengers were impacted by the disruption.

“We sincerely apologise for the inconvenience caused to our affected passengers, and ask for their continued understanding and patience as our teams work to restore operations back to normal.”

Budget carrier FlyDubai said that 75 of its scheduled flights have been cancelled so far, with 26 cancelled on Thursday alone.

“We’re working hard to minimise the disruption to your travel plans following the closure of Dubai International (DXB) yesterday,” it said on its website.

 “Today, there will continue to be delays and cancellations.”

Indian budget carrier IndiGo said it had cancelled all flights to and from Dubai on Thursday, with passengers advised to call these numbers for more details: +91 9910383838/+91 6613838.

SpiceJet Airlines also said all flights to and from Dubai have been cancelled for the day.

“Dubai authorities are not allowing any narrow body aircraft to land there until 7.30am IST [Indian Standard Time, 6am UAE time], Aug 5,” said the Indian carrier on its Twitter page.

 Overall, Dubai Airports said that a total of 116 arriving and 121 departing flights were cancelled and 44 inbound flights were diverted to neighbouring airports.

All 282 passengers and 18 crew onboard flight EK521 were evacuated safely following the accident.

“Passengers were met by Emirates staff and provided with all possible assistance,” said Emirates, adding that, of the passengers on the flight, 157 disembarked in Dubai and left the airport on Wednesday afternoon.

 “A further 107 passengers chose to continue their journeys and remained airside, where they were provided with refreshments, rest areas while Emirates rebooks them on the next possible flights.

“Thirteen passengers opted to stay a few days in Dubai before continuing on their journeys and Emirates has provided them with hotel accommodation and dedicated support.

“Five passengers were brought to local hospitals with minor injuries, and we have dedicated a staff liaison supporting their requirements.

 “We will continue to extend all possible care to our affected customers.”

The airline said both the captain and first officer on the flight have “7,000 hours of flying experience each” and it was cooperating with local authorities to determine the cause of the accident.

Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, chairman and chief executive of Emirates, has met with the crew, who are all safe and accounted for, the airline said.

 “One cabin crew member was hospitalised yesterday but is in good condition and will be discharged from a local hospital today. Emirates has activated dedicated support for its crew community,” the statement added.

Dubai Airports said that all food outlets across Dubai International and Al Maktoum are providing free refreshments and water. Free wifi has also been made available at Dubai International.

 Emirates passengers with tickets bought on or before August3, 2016, can rebook or cancel their bookings at no charge.

For more information on flights or rebookings, visit www.emirates.com or contact a local Emirates sales offices.

Contact numbers are available here at www.emirates.com/english/help/contact-emirates.

Passengers due to travel in the next 24 hours, should check their flight’s status at the Emirates website.

Source: thenational.ae

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