Today, an Emirates spokesperson announced that thousands more Emirates’ passengers have been able to travel today, supported by a full schedule of European flights and extra services to London.
In addition to the usual eight daily flights to the British capital, a further two were added to London Gatwick, clearing 1,000 extra passengers traveling to and from the UK. This followed two extra Gatwick flights yesterday, while a further Gatwick service is planned for tomorrow.
Salem Obaidalla, Emirates’ Senior Vice President, Commercial Operations Europe & Russian Federation, said: “We’re into day 2 of the recovery operation and we are making good progress now that stability has returned to European airspace. However, our network is extensive and people have been affected in all corners of the world. We have a duty to look after every single passenger to make sure that they are on their way as soon as possible.”
All of Emirates 22 routes into Europe are operating, but the airline again reminded passengers not to go to airports unless they have a confirmed seat on a flight.
Mohammed Mattar, Emirates’ Divisional Senior Vice President, Airport Services, said: “We know this is not easy and people have been very patient, but we need everyone’s cooperation to resolve this as quickly as possible. This is unprecedented as far as we are concerned and our staff are doing all they can to place passengers on flights as capacity becomes available. The number of remaining transit passengers in Dubai continues to dwindle with each departing flight.”
Mr Mattar added: “If your flight is confirmed to operate and you are holding a confirmed ticket, it’s ok to go to the airport. If you were booked on a flight that was cancelled and not holding a confirmed seat on an alternative flight, we ask you not to go to the airport. Please get in touch with Emirates or your travel agent.”
Online check in remains suspended for all Emirates’ flights and passengers are urged to check the status of their flights on www.emirates.com, which is updated every five minutes.
At the height of the havoc caused by the volcanic ash clouds from Iceland, Emirates had a fifth of its fleet grounded and up to 6,000 transit passengers accommodated in hotels across Dubai. Losses were running at $10 million per day.
On Tuesday, Emirates invited media representatives to its headquarters in Dubai for a briefing on how the airline was coping. Media representatives were also given a rare opportunity to visit Emirates’ Network Control Centre, a central part of the international recovery operation.
Paul Dutton, Emirates’ Vice President, Network Control, said: “The key to the speed of our recovery is making full use of all available aircraft and making sure we match passengers who have been delayed with available seats. At the same time, we are laying on extra services to increase capacity to get as many people moving as we can.”
In all, more than 270 flights across the Emirates’ network were cancelled, affecting the travel plans of about 100,000 passengers.
Mostafa Kara, Emirates’ Senior Vice President, Customer Affairs, said: “It’s all hands on deck with this at the moment and will be for a while yet, but we’re getting there. I’m also pleased to say that all unaccompanied minors and young passengers have been reunited with their families and guardians.”
There is also good news for the more than 2,000 tones of cargo which was held up in Dubai.
Ram Menen, Divisional Senior Vice President, Cargo, said: “Emirates SkyCargo has now cleared its backlogged cargo in Dubai. We are operating a normal service to the UK and Europe. Customers with new bookings should contact their local office.”