Emirates has announced plans to restart regular passenger services from its Dubai hub to nine key destinations, including Sydney and Melbourne. In recent weeks, the airline has restricted operations to all cities except London and Frankfurt, which have been flown on a limited basis.
From 21 May, one-way scheduled services will also be available to Paris, Milan, Madrid, Chicago and Toronto, as well as the NSW and Victorian capitals.
Due to a government suspension of entry visas, these services will be largely restricted to UAE nationals and/or residents. However, the airline said yesterday that the uptick in services will ensure “seamless connection in Dubai for customers flying between the UK and Australia”, which has been a major focus of repatriation efforts in recent months.
“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,” said Adel Al Redha, Emirates’ chief operating officer.
The news comes just days after rival Etihad announced plans to restart outbound flights between Melbourne and London from 15 May, as well as a return leg effective from 21 May.
Emirates plans to work closely with embassies and consulates to co-ordinate specialised repatriation flights outside of the announced services. This week, the airline plans to operate rescue flights from Dubai to Tokyo Narita, Japan (15 May); Conakry, Guinea (16 May); and Dakar, Senegal (16 May).
Al Redha also said that the company plans to continue restoring flights across its network that have been suspended in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak.
“We are working closely with the authorities to plan the resumption of operations to additional destinations. 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,” he said.
Aside from implementing strict biosecurity measures, Emirates will also ensure travellers are in compliance with eligibility and entry criteria posted by respective destinations prior to boarding. For UAE residents wishing to return to the country, this includes pre-approval from the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship (ICA).