Emirates Airline’s President Addresses Severe Operational Challenges After UAE’s Historic Rainfall

Emirates Airline President Sir Tim Clark today addressed recent severe operational disruptions caused by unprecedented stormy weather in the United Arab Emirates.

In an open letter to the airline’s valued customers, Sir Tim expressed his deepest apologies for the extensive inconveniences experienced during what he described as “some of the most challenging days in our history.” The record-breaking weather event occurred on Tuesday, 16 April, marking the UAE’s heaviest rainfall in 75 years. The severe storms led to significant disruptions across the region, particularly impacting access to Dubai’s main airport due to heavily flooded roads.

Despite challenging conditions, Emirates’ central hub in Dubai continued to operate, although flight movements were substantially reduced to ensure passenger safety. The adverse weather necessitated the diversion of dozens of flights and led to nearly 400 cancellations and numerous delays over a span of three days, as the airline grappled with staffing and supply shortages.

Emirates prioritized the management of the situation and the care of affected customers by suspending check-in for passengers departing from Dubai, imposing an embargo on ticket sales, and temporarily halting connecting passenger traffic into Dubai. The airline mobilized additional resources to support airport and contact center teams, helping with rebookings and scheduling additional flights for stranded passengers.

More than 100 employee volunteers were deployed at Dubai Airport to assist disrupted customers, focusing on medical cases, the elderly, and other vulnerable groups. To accommodate those affected, Emirates secured over 12,000 hotel rooms in Dubai and issued 250,000 meal vouchers, along with providing essential amenities like drinking water and blankets.

As of Saturday, 20 April, Emirates has successfully restored its regular flight schedules. Efforts are ongoing to clear the backlog of rebooked passengers and manage around 30,000 pieces of left-behind baggage, with a dedicated task force working to reconcile and deliver these items to their rightful owners.

“We acknowledge the frustration and inconvenience our customers faced during this period,” stated Sir Tim Clark. “We are deeply committed to learning from this experience and improving our processes. Our teams and partners have worked tirelessly under difficult conditions to support our customers and restore our operations.”

Emirates appreciates the continued patience and understanding of its customers as it works diligently to resolve remaining issues and reaffirms its commitment to upholding the ‘Fly Better’ promise.

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