NewsEmirates admits flaws amidst chaos after historic dubai deluge

Emirates admits flaws amidst chaos after historic dubai deluge

The Emirates hub at Dubai airport was paralyzed by torrential rains. Illustrative photo
The Emirates hub at Dubai airport was paralyzed by torrential rains. Illustrative photo
Images source: © Getty Images | NurPhoto
9:56 AM EDT, April 21, 2024

"This week has been one of the toughest for Emirates operationally," writes Sir Tim Clark, president of Emirates Airlines, in an open letter. He admits the response to the Dubai airport's paralysis was "far from perfect." Passengers experienced chaos for several more days as a result.

On Tuesday, April 16, the United Arab Emirates witnessed its heaviest rainfall in 75 years. The streets of Dubai flooded, rendering hundreds of cars immobilized after being abandoned by their owners. The airport in Dubai faced paralysis; numerous arrivals were canceled, and passenger check-ins for departures were suspended.

Dubai is currently assessing the damage, and the torrential rain's impact at the airport continued for several days. Passengers stranded at one of the largest aviation hubs in the Middle East reported chaos.

Paralysis in Dubai: Thousands of passengers face problems

"We know our response has been far from perfect. We acknowledge and understand the frustration of our customers due to the congestion, lack of information, and confusion in the terminals. We acknowledge that the long queues and wait times have been unacceptable," acknowledges Tim Clark in his open letter.

He reports that within the next three days, the carrier had to cancel 400 flights and delay many more. The normal operation of Emirates flights was only restored on Saturday, April 20. A task force was formed to sort, locate, and dispatch about 30,000 pieces of luggage that had been left at the Dubai airport.

Tim Clark also mentions securing over 12,000 hotel rooms in Dubai, deploying 100 volunteers to the terminal hall, issuing 250,000 meal vouchers, and providing larger quantities of drinking water and blankets.

Suspended flights from Dubai: Consequences of paralysis after downpours

The torrential rains led not only to the cancellation of takeoffs and landings due to difficult weather conditions but also to flooded streets preventing passengers, as well as crew members, pilots, ground handling staff, and catering deliveries, from reaching the airport.

A decision was made to suspend check-ins for outbound flights from Dubai to "decongest" queues of those whose journey had already begun and who were waiting in the United Arab Emirates for their connecting flight.

"In order to free up resources to first and foremost manage the needs of customers most impacted by the situation, we had to suspend check-ins for passengers departing from Dubai, introduce a ticket sales embargo, and temporarily suspend the movement of connecting passengers from our network to Dubai,," Tim Clark explained.

The head of Emirates Airlines assures that the company "have taken learnings from the last few days to make things right and improve our processes" And although flights in the schedule have been operating regularly since Saturday, the impact of Tuesday's downpour will still be ongoing.

"It will take us some more days to clear the backlog of rebooked passengers and bags, and we ask for our customer's patience and understanding," the letter concluded.

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