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Emirates Issues Grovelling Apology After Tens of Thousands of Passengers Were Left Stranded as Airline Went Into Meltdown

Emirates Issues Grovelling Apology After Tens of Thousands of Passengers Were Left Stranded as Airline Went Into Meltdown

emirates planes parked up at dubai international airport

Sir Tim Clark, the President of Dubai-based airline Emirates, has issued a grovelling apology to tens of thousands of passengers who have been stranded after historic floods across the United Arab Emirates sent the carrier into meltdown.

Describing the last week as “one of the toughest” in the nearly 40-year history of Emirates, Sir Tim admitted that the airline’s response had been “far from perfect” and that the conditions that passengers have faced at Dubai International Airport have been “unacceptable”.

Sir Tim says that when the storm hit the UAE last Tuesday, the airline initially tried to keep its operations running, although with reduced flight movements for safety. The airport was largely able to remain operational but what Emirates didn’t account for was the conditions throughout the rest of Dubai.

“Flooded roads impeded the ability of our customers, pilots, cabin crew, and airport employees to reach the airport, and also the movement of essential supplies like meals and other flight amenities,” Sir Tim explained.

Essentially, Emirates continued to schedule flights but didn’t have any pilots or cabin crew to operate them, while more and more transit passengers were arriving in Dubai but ground staff couldn’t get to the airport to help them.

Over three days, Emirates cancelled 400 flights, delayed many more and diverted dozens to surrounding airports because Dubai Airport simply wasn’t able to deal with the disruption.

Emirates initially tried to get its operations back on track by suspending check-in at its Dubai hub and closing ticket sales, although it soon became apparent that the real issue was in the transit area where thousands of passengers had been stranded for days.

Sir Tim claims that the airline has given out 250,000 meal vouchers for passengers who have been stuck in Dubai Airport, while 12,000 hotel rooms were sourced for the most vulnerable stranded passengers.

“Behind the scenes, it was all hands-on deck for thousands more employees across the organisation to get our operations back on track,” Sir Tim continued.

“As of this morning, Saturday 20 April, our regular flight schedules have been restored. Passengers previously stranded in the airport transit area have been rebooked and are enroute to their destinations. We have put together a taskforce to sort, reconcile, and deliver some 30,000 pieces of left-behind baggage to their owners.”

Although regular operations have returned to normal, that doesn’t mean the backlog has been cleared. It could still take several days to get stranded passengers where they were meant to be and even longer for delayed baggage to be returned to their owners.

“I want to offer, on behalf of myself, and all the teams across Emirates, our apologies to each and every customer affected by this disruption,” Sir Tim’s open letter continued. “We will continue to work hard to live up to your expectations, and to our Fly Better brand promise.”

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