Emirates will start operating one-way passenger flights from the United Kingdom to Dubai from Tuesday following the British government’s decision to slap a travel ban on regularly scheduled flights from the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Emirates initially suspended all flights to and from the UK, leaving the travel plans of people trying to connect through Emirates’ hub in Dubai in tatters.
“Emirates remains committed to serving customers in the UK and will reinstate outbound passenger operations from 2 February,” a spokesperson for the airline explained. “Initially, this will include a daily flight from London Heathrow and four weekly from Manchester. Services from Birmingham and Glasgow will continue to be cargo-only.”
“We are working closely with all relevant authorities. Passengers travelling from the UK are required to check their eligibility for travel as per the UK government advisory, as well as check the local entry requirements of their destination to ensure they are permitted to travel.”
The travel ban came into force last Tuesday over fears that a mutant COVID-19 variant from South Africa was now present in the UAE and could be imported into the UK by travellers. British officials gave travellers less than 24-hours notice before the ban on direct flights was brought in and those stranded have been told to make their own way home through a third country.
Those efforts to get back to the UK were further hampered when Qatar Airways said it would suspend all new ticket sales to most foreigners on flights from Dubai to Doha in an attempt to avoid its own travel ban.
Although leisure travel from the UK is currently against the law as part of the government’s latest lockdown measures, there are still thousands of people who were due to fly with Emirates and connect in Dubai onto other destinations. Australian citizens, many of whom have been waiting months for space on a flight to become available, have been particularly hard hit by the decision to suspend flights.
Emirates initially decided to suspend all passenger flights to and from the UK but will now follow the lead of neighbouring Etihad Airways in Abu Dhabi which has been operating one-way flights since the ban came into force.
Both airlines may be able to recoup some revenue by carrying cargo to the UK in lieu of passengers.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.