Emirates Boeing 777X. Photo: Boeing

MIAMI – Emirates (EK) has today announced plans to operate passenger services to more destinations on a limited basis in order to repatriate those back to their homes due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Services to Jakarta, Manila, Taipei, Chicago, Tunis, Algiers and Kabul will join the already commenced operations in London, Paris, Brussels, Zurich and Frankfurt, with all departures being handled out of Terminal 3 at Dubai International Airport.

It is understood that those who book on those flights will be subjected to all health and safety checks and measures required by the United Arab Emirates government.

PHOTO: Emirates.

The product on offer will be stripped back too, offering no online check-in and no seat selection, with chauffeur drive and lounge both being suspended as well.

On top of this, magazines and other reading material will not be available, with food and beverages continuing to be provided onboard but in00pp modified packaging and presentation to reduce contact during meal service and to reduce the spread of infection.

Emirates also noted that passengers will have to adhere to social distancing rules as well as wear their own masks when at the airport and on board the aircraft.

Moreover, all EK aircraft used for these limited operations will undergo enhanced cleaning and disinfection procedures after every flight.

The Chairman and CEO of Emirates, HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum commented on the pandemic earlier this month, thanking authorities for their0 help in the midst of chaos.

“These initial passenger services, although limited to trave00p0p0p0lers who meet the entry requirements set by the destination countries, will be welcomed by our customers seeking to return home to their countries and families. We would like to thank the UAE government and all our partners for their support in ensuring the smooth operation of our flights.”

“While we hope to resume full operations as soon as possible, we acknowledge the challenges faced by many cities in dealing with the COVID-19 outbreak. Our network can only be restored with the easing of travel restrictions, and we maintain close contact with all authorities for latest updates.”

“We are working closely with the authorities to resume our services, keeping in mind the safety and wellbeing of our crew and customers at every step of the journey. We continuously review the situation and will announce any additional services as they become available.”

PHOTO: Emirates.

With these new services in play, it is currently unclear about scheduling at this time.

The first announcement made regarding service restarts came on April 2, in which four days later, the services were reinaugurated.

As it stands, the list of served destinations during the COVID-19 pandemic for Emirates is as follows:

  • Jakarta – Unknown schedule.
  • Manila – Unknown schedule.
  • Taipei – Unknown schedule.
  • Chicago – Unknown schedule.
  • Tunis – Unknown schedule.
  • Algiers – Unknown schedule.
  • Kabul – Unknown schedule.
  • London Heathrow – Four times per week.
  • Frankfurt – Thrice weekly.
  • Paris – Thrice weekly.
  • Brussels – Thrice weekly.
  • Zurich – Thrice weekly.

It is understood that the equipment being used for these flights are the Boeing 777-300ER in the fleet, but only with the Economy and Business Class setups.

In all, for a carrier like EK to get affected by this pandemic, speaks volumes.

It is evident that its push to restart limited operations is a way to keep liquidity and cash flow rising, as seen with other major airlines across the globe.

We have seen American Airlines agreeing deals with flight attendants and pilots to take either voluntary redundancy or an early retirement in order to bring costs down.

With up to 25 million industry-wide jobs at risk according to the International Air Transport Association (IATA), the airline industry, like with EK, is trying to stimulate this industry before it may be too late.