Coronavirus: Emirates airline to suspend most passenger flights
The Dubai airline will temporarily halt flying passengers on most routes from March 25 'until travel confidence returns'
Emirates has suspended most of its passenger flights from Wednesday, March 25. After weeks of cancelling routes and updating schedules, the airline has announced it will suspend most passenger operations across its network.
It had cut flights to more than 113 destinations across its network. Typically, Emirates flies to more than 150 destinations across the world.
The changes are due to travel restrictions introduced by countries to prevent the spread of Covid-19 by air travel.
"We find ourselves in a situation where we cannot viably operate passenger services until countries re-open their borders and travel confidence returns," Emirates said. "By Wednesday 25 March, although we will still operate cargo flights which remain busy, Emirates will have temporarily suspended most of its passenger operations. We continue to watch the situation closely, and as soon as things allow, we will reinstate our services."
However, the airline said "having received requests from governments and customers to support the repatriation of travellers" it will continue to operate passenger flights to the UK, Switzerland, Hong Kong, Thailand, Malaysia, Philippines, Japan, Singapore, South Korea, Australia, South Africa, the US and Canada "as long as borders remain open, and there is demand".
Due to reduced capacity, Emirates will only operate two more flights to London between now and Wednesday. One will take off at 2.30pm today. The airline’s last available flight to Heathrow will take off at 03.10 on Tuesday, March 24, arriving in the British capital at 07.10. Both have sold out.
All China services suspended
Beijing was the last route to be dropped from the airline's schedule.
The last flight will depart from Dubai tomorrow. The route was the only active mainland China service Emirates was still operating.
Entebbe and Seattle were the other destinations added to the suspended list before the airline announced it would suspend most passenger flights.
Services cut to cities across the UK, US, Australia and New Zealand
Emirates had already cancelled flights to several cities in the UK, US, Australia and all destinations in New Zealand. Some services were suspended until June 30, meaning many foreign residents in Dubai would not be able to travel home with Emirates for the summer break.
The airline suspended services to Auckland and Christchurch, the only two destinations it serves in New Zealand.
Services to Chicago, Brisbane, Stockholm, Vienna, Manila, Colombo, Glasgow, Newcastle and London Stansted were also already suspended.
Emirates previously cut services to select destinations in the US amid the announcement of travel restrictions by President Donald Trump. These flight restrictions affected Emirates's fifth freedom routes.
A presidential proclamation issued after Trump's address said the ban would apply to the 26 Schengen countries. This was extended to include Ireland and the UK. The restrictions apply to all foreign nationals who have been in the area in the past 14 days.
Flights to Kuwait cancelled
The announcement regarding the US flights came after the airline also suspended flights to Italy and Kuwait.
Flights to Kuwait were stopped on Saturday, March 14, and were to be grounded until at least Tuesday, March 31, after the Gulf country announced it was closed to commercial flights.
Kuwait is on a public holiday period until Thursday, March 26. The move is to help control the spread of Covid-19.
Emirates drops Italy flights as Rome airport closes
Emirates was also already one of several airlines to suspend flights to Italy after the country announced emergency travel restrictions to help contain the pandemic.
Emirates suspended its daily flight to Venice and scrapped flights from Dubai to Milan and Bologna.
Dubai to Rome routes were cut, after initially being reduced.
Updated: March 26, 2020 10:37 AM