Emirates Airlines ordeal during unprecedented rain falls in UAE.

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In an open letter to customers, Sir Tim Clark, President of Emirates Airlines, said,” This week has been one of the toughest for Emirates operationally, as record storms hit the United Arab Emirates. I sincerely apologise to every customer whose travel plans were disrupted during this time”. He recalled that on Tuesday, 16 April, the UAE experienced its highest rainfall in 75 years. They were lashing storm winds and rain disrupted activity across the cities. Our 24/7 hub in Dubai remained open, with flight movements reduced for safety. Still, flooded roads impeded the ability of our customers, pilots, cabin crew, and airport employees to reach the airport and the movement of essential supplies like meals and other flight amenities.

We diverted dozens of flights on Tuesday to avoid the worst weather. Over the next three days, we had to cancel nearly 400 flights and delay many more as our hub operations remained challenged by staffing and supply shortages. We were clear on our two priorities: looking after our customers impacted by the disruption and getting our operations back on schedule.

To free up resources and capacity to manage impacted customers as a priority, we had to suspend check-in for passengers departing Dubai, implement an embargo on ticket sales, and temporarily halt connecting passenger traffic from points across our network coming into Dubai.

We deployed additional resources to aid our airport and contact centre teams with rebooking and put on extra flights to destinations where we identified many displaced customers.

We sent over 100 employee volunteers to look after disrupted customers at Dubai Airport departures and in the transit area, prioritising medical cases, older people, and other vulnerable travellers. Over 12,000 hotel rooms have been secured to accommodate disrupted customers in Dubai, 250,000 meal vouchers have been issued, and more drinking water, blankets, and other amenities have been distributed. Behind the scenes, thousands more employees were involved in getting our operations back on track.

Our regular flight schedules have been restored as of this morning, Saturday, 20 April. Passengers stranded in the airport transit area have been rebooked and en route to their destinations. We have assembled a task force to sort, reconcile, and deliver 30,000 pieces of left-behind baggage to their owners.

We will need some more days to clear the backlog of rebooked passengers and bags, and we ask for our customers’ patience and understanding.

We know our response has been far from perfect. We acknowledge and understand our customers’ frustration due to the congestion, lack of information, and confusion in the terminals. We recognise that the long queues and wait times have been unacceptable.

We take our commitment to our customers very seriously and have used the lessons of the last few days to correct our mistakes and improve our processes.

I’d also like to acknowledge and thank our teams across the airline and our many suppliers and partners for their tireless efforts around the clock this week, despite the challenging conditions, to support customers, recover our network, and bring our operating schedule back to normal.

Finally, and once again, I want to apologise to every customer affected by this disruption on behalf of myself and all the teams across the Emirates.

We will continue working hard to meet your expectations and our Fly Better brand promise.

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