DUBAI, 22 April 2024: Emirates flights are back to normal following unprecedented chaos caused by flooding in Dubai, which brought one of the world’s busiest airports to its knees last week.

In the aftermath of the crisis, the airline’s president, Sir Tim Clark, posted an open letter to customers on Saturday: “This week has been one of the toughest for Emirates operationally, as record storms hit the United Arab Emirates. I want to offer our sincere apologies to every customer whose travel plans were disrupted during this time.”

On Tuesday, 16 April, the UAE experienced its highest rainfall in 75 years. Lashing storm winds and rain disrupted activity across Dubai. About 25cm (10in) of rain — roughly twice the UAE’s yearly average — fell in a single day, flooding much of Dubai’s outdoor infrastructure.

Clark said in the open letter: “Our 24/7 hub in Dubai remained open, with flight movements reduced for safety, but flooded roads impeded the ability of our customers, pilots, cabin crew, and airport employees to reach the airport, and also the movement of essential supplies like meals and other flight amenities.

“We diverted dozens of flights on Tuesday to avoid the worst of the weather, and over the next three days, we had to cancel nearly 400 flights and delay many more as our hub operations remained challenged by staffing and supply shortages.

“To free up resources and capacity to manage impacted customers as a priority, we had to suspend check-in for passengers departing Dubai, implement an embargo on ticket sales, and temporarily halt connecting passenger traffic from points across our network coming into Dubai.

“Over 12,000 hotel rooms were secured to accommodate disrupted customers in Dubai, 250,000 meal vouchers have been issued, and more drinking water, blankets, and other amenities.

“As of Saturday, 20 April, our regular flight schedules have been restored. Passengers previously stranded in the airport transit area have been rebooked and are en route to their destinations. We have assembled a task force to sort, reconcile, and deliver some 30,000 pieces of left-behind baggage to their owners.

“It will take us some more days to clear the backlog of rebooked passengers and bags, and we ask for our customers’ patience and understanding.”

He concluded: “We know our response could have been better. We acknowledge and understand our customers’ frustration due to the congestion, lack of information, and confusion in the terminals. We acknowledge that the long queues and wait times have been unacceptable.

“We take our commitment to our customers very seriously, and we have used the lessons of the last few days to make things right and improve our processes.

“I’d like to also acknowledge and thank our teams across the airline and our many suppliers and partners for their tireless efforts around the clock this week, despite the challenging conditions, to support customers, recover our network, and bring our operating schedule back to normal.”

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(SOURCE: Emirates)


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