x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Extra flights for holiday demand

Airlines put on extra flights to manage a surge in bookings as residents took advantage of the back-to-back Eid al Adha and National Day holidays.

ABU DHABI // Airlines put on extra flights to manage a surge in bookings as residents took advantage of the back-to-back Eid al Adha and National Day holidays. Abu Dhabi Airports Company (ADAC) staff said airlines had increased the number of available departures to destinations such as Beirut. There were three flights departing daily for London and four packed flights to Australia two to Sydney and two to Melbourne.

"It was very busy yesterday and for about the last three days before," an ADAC employee said. He attributed the flood of holidaymakers to the unusual extended public holiday created by the consecutive Eid and National Day breaks. "It was something amazing," he said. "There were no empty seats." Ahmed Mahkeen, the operations controller for the Prime Limousines company, which co-ordinates pick-ups with Etihad Airways, said he was informed about added flights to the subcontinent. "Especially Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Pakistan they are adding," he said. "They are doubling their flights [to] Bombay, Delhi, Islamabad, Karachi."

Staff at Dubai International Airport said they had seen steady crowds since Thursday. A spokesman for the low-cost airline FlyDubai said: "There has been a huge demand for flights over the last few weeks and, as a result, we put on extra flights for Doha and Beirut." Nick Summerfield, 32, a legal adviser from Britain, was taking advantage of the long break to meet friends in Hong Kong. "I only started looking for flights last week as I wasn't sure what days I was off," he said. "Luckily, I am not back in the office until next Sunday. It was a trip I hadn't planned for as I used up most of my holidays during the summer. This is a nice little bonus."

mkwong@thenational.ae eharnan@thenational.ae