Emirates to resume passenger flights to nine destinations

Emirates, one of the world’s biggest long-haul airlines, plans to operate scheduled flight services from Dubai to nine destinations from next week.

The Dubai-based carrier says it will fly to London Heathrow, Frankfurt, Paris, Milan, Madrid, Chicago, Toronto, Sydney and Melbourne from May 21.

The airline says it will also offer a “seamless” connection in Dubai for passengers travelling between the UK and Australia.

Emirates will only accept passengers on to these flights if they “comply with the eligibility and entry criteria requirements of their destination countries.” This includes approval from the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship (ICA) for UAE residents who wish to return to Dubai.

“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,” Adel Al Redha, Emirates’ Chief Operating Officer, was quoted in a statement, as saying.

“We have implemented additional measures at the airport in coordination with the relevant authorities in respect to social distancing and sanitisation. The safety and wellbeing of our employees, customers and communities, remain our top priority.”

In preparation for the restarting of flights, the airline says it has enhanced various precautionary measures throughout the customer journey.

For example, at Dubai International Airport, customers and employees will have their temperatures checked via thermal scanners.

Protective barriers have been installed at check-in counters to “provide additional safety during interaction” and gloves and masks are mandatory for all customers and employees at the airport.

In addition, Emirates’ cabin crew, boarding agents and ground staff who interact directly with travellers will don personal protective equipment (PPE) including a protective disposable gown and safety visor.

The airline says that social distancing protocols will also be implemented with “physical indicators being placed on the ground and at waiting areas in the airport to ensure travellers maintain a safe distance.”

On board, there will be a modified in-flight service that the airline says “focuses on reducing contact and infection risk.”

Magazines and printed reading material will not be available and cabin baggage will have to be checked in.

Customers can only take essential items on board such as a laptop, handbag, briefcase or items for babies.

“Emirates has initiated a stringent safety programme to ensure aircraft cabins remain clean and sanitary,” a statement read.

“The airline’s modern aircraft cabins have been fitted with advanced HEPA air filters which remove 99.97 per cent of viruses and eliminate dust, allergens and germs from cabin air for a healthier and safer on-board environment. After its journey and on landing in Dubai, each aircraft will go through enhanced cleaning and disinfection processes to ensure safety and proper sanitation.”

In addition to the scheduled services, Emirates says it will also continue to work closely with embassies and consulates to facilitate repatriation flights for visitors and residents wishing to return home.

This week, the airline plans to operate flights from Dubai to Tokyo Narita (May 15), Conakry (May 16), and Dakar (May 16).

The airline suspended regular, scheduled passenger flights in late March, though it has since operated some services for foreigners leaving the UAE whilst cargo flights continue to operate.

Emirates began its service to the Maldives in May 1987 using a single Boeing 727 aircraft.

With three times daily non-stop service between Dubai and Male, Emirates has since become a major airline operating to the Maldives and a preferred airline for tourists visiting the island nation from far corners of the world, especially Europe.

However, all international airlines have suspended their operations to the Maldives after the island nation enforced a blanket suspension of on-arrival visa late March in a bid to combat the spread of the novel coronavirus.

On March 8, Maldives reported its first cases of the novel coronavirus, as two hotel employees tested positive for Covid-19 at a luxury resort in the archipelago.

Eighteen more cases — all foreigners working or staying resorts and liveaboard vessels except five Maldivians who had returned from abroad — were later identified.

A six-case cluster of locals, detected in capital Male on April 15, confirmed community transmission of the coronavirus. Several more clusters have since been identified, bringing the total number of confirmed case in the Maldives to 955.

Three deaths have been reported and 40 have made full recoveries.

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