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Most of the world may be living under significant travel restrictions but Emirates has announced plans to restart flights to nine destinations from later this month as it looks to find a way out of the current crisis. The first flights the airline will offer since it grounded its fleet at the end of March are mostly to cities within Europe, but the United States and Australia will be seeing select services resume too.
From 21 May 2020 these are the destinations that Emirates will be flying to:
- London (Heathrow)
Emirates’ COO Adel Al Redha has offered this statement:
“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. 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 sanitization. The safety and wellbeing of our employees, customers and communities, remain our top priority.”
At the time of writing, flights to these destinations are not yet on sale but it wouldn’t surprise me if they were loaded by the end of the day.
Emirates has said that all travelers booking these flights will have to “comply with the eligibility and entry criteria requirements of their destination countries” which, although unsurprising, does open up a big question:
Considering most countries in Europe have closed their borders to visitors entering from non-EU countries, considering Australia is closed to foreign nationals and considering the UK is talking about imposing a 14-day quarantine period on most visitors, who does Emirates expect to book these flights?
It’s a ray of hope to hear of an airline looking to slowly reopen its route network but, as things stand, I’m struggling to understand how Emirates will operate its 777s economically (presumably the A380s will remain grounded).
From a safety point of view, Emirates appears to be doing as much as it possibly can to reassure passengers that their wellbeing is being considered (thermal screening and mandatory face coverings for passengers, PPE equipment for staff and crew and social distancing for all) so I don’t think that’s going to be a problem for the airline…but how is it going to get enough people flying to make these routes economically viable if the destinations (mostly) have significant barriers to entry?
I don’t get it, so if anyone has any ideas please let me know in the comments – thanks!