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Coronavirus: Emirates to add 50 destinations to network in June


Airline set to expand network as more countries ease travel restrictions.

Emirates airline is set to expand its network to 50 destinations in June as more and more countries have eased travel restrictions, its senior official said.

Adel Al Redha, chief operating officer at Emirates, said the airline is confident to stage strong comeback in coming weeks by opening more destinations and facilitating transist passengers.

“June is a very important month for the aviation in general and Emirates in particular as the airline is going to reopen more routes in coming days. We are in close touch with relevant authorities and the governments and will share the details once conclude a deal,” Al Redha told Khaleej Times in an exclusive interview on Monday.

Today, Emirates, Etihad Airways and flydubai have commenced scheduled and special repatriation flights to around 30 destinations across Asia, Europe, Africa and the US.

The Dubai-based world’s number one airline for international travel resumed passenger flights to nine destinations across the world on May 21st. The countries include the UK, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, the US, Canada and Australia.

The airline will also offer connections in Dubai for customers travelling between the UK and Australia. In addition to the scheduled services, Emirates will also continue to work closely with embassies and consulates to facilitate repatriation flights for visitors and residents wishing to return home.

“Covid-19 flight and travel restrictions remain in place across many countries around the world. But the situation is changing fast and more countries are going to ease travel restrictions this month and it will help revive trade, tourism, aviation and economy,” Al Redha said.

“We are closely monitoring the situation as it evolves, and we hope to resume services as soon as conditions allow. This includes receiving government approvals, the easing of travel restrictions, and commercial demand. We will announce more destinations in coming days once we conclude talks with the authorities concerned,” he added.

Emirates has recently added 12 Arab countries to its schedule of passenger flights. Bookings can now be made for flights departing Dubai from July 1 to destinations including Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman, Bahrain, Iraq, Tunisia, Morocco, Algeria, Lebanon, Jordan and Sudan. However, the airline has made it clear that this is subject to change, based on the dynamic travel situation.

3 months are crucial

“Three months are very crucial for aviation markets as it will set the future direction as more countries will lift a ban on international flights. Most of the countries will open their airports in June and July and the rest are expected in August,” he said.

“We cannot live in lockdown forever. Aviation is a lifeline and key stakeholder of the economy. Like other industry players, we have no choice but to grounded around 90 percent of our fleet due to coronavirus outbreak,” he said.

Juwhra Salem, a Dubai-based economic specialist, said Emirates announcement is an excellent step towards getting life back to what it is was pre-Covid-19.

“This is positive news that will have its impact on multiple sectors in the country, including tourism, all of which were severely impacted by this unprecedented situation in the past few months. This is also an indication of the country’s readiness as well as its capabilities in dealing with the different Covid-19 ramifications,” she said.

Safety first

To a question about, Covid-19 and safety measures introduced by the airline, he said Emirates adopt every possible measure to protect its employees, passengers and communities.

“We provide all guests with a free hygiene kit. It contains a face mask, gloves, antibacterial wipes and hand sanitizer. Travelers are advised to arrive at the airport four hours prior to departure.

“We have implemented additional measures at the airport in coordination with the relevant authorities in respect to social distancing and sanitization,” he said.


Source: Muzaffar Rizvi for Khaleej Times


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