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Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 23 June 2018

Fog disrupts Christmas Eve flights at Dubai airport

Dubai airport has diverted 53 flights on Sunday as heavy fog causes more travel disruptions for a third successive day.

Some of the flights were diverted to Dubai World Central.

"Dubai Airports is working with airlines and other stakeholders to ensure the comfort of our customers and normalise operations as quickly as possible," a spokesman said.

The spokesman added that the situation was improving and any diverted flights would get priority to land at Dubai when the fog clears.

Early on Sunday, Emirates warned that fog was impacting arrivals and departures. Planes could be seen in a holding pattern over the airport waiting to land, while the airline tracking website Flight Radar was reporting delays of up to an hour in arrivals.

About ten flights have been cancelled by Emirates so far on Sunday.

Etihad and Emirates used their Twitter accounts to keep customers informed. Etihad emphasised the importance of their guests and crew, while Emirates directed people to their site for more detailed information and help.

Compounding the problem was the holiday rush at the airport.

Emirates urged travellers to check the status of their flight before heading to the airport.

People reached out to Emirates and Dubai Airports on social media, expressing frustration over poor communication and poor customer care. Twitter users voiced concern after being unable to reach customer service representatives by phone.

Twitter user @saxena_anky posted a photo of long queues and tweeted to Emirates and Dubai International Airport: “Look at the queues to sort out the missed connections. You can certainly do better than this. While it could be an 'act of nature', your customer service professionals should show some empathy towards the customers.”

Delays were not limited to the UAE. Those waiting for Emirates flights in other countries were stuck in airport limbo, unable to leave and without information on when the flight was expected.

"People in Kuwait airport are waiting for a flight from last night with no possibility to leave an airport," tweeted @drbaksas. "No food provided, no hotel not even re-routing to Abu Dhabi or Sharjah. Never would expect that from top tier airline…"

At Abu Dhabi airport, the situation had improved over the previous two days with most flights operating as normal.

The National Centre of Meteorology, meanwhile, warned that visibility was down to 100 metres at times in some northern, central and eastern areas of the country. It also warned this could last until at least 10am.

Police in Abu Dhabi and Dubai urged motorists to be extra cautious on the roads, use low-beam lights during fog, leave enough distance between vehicles and not to switch lanes.

Traffic was heavy going on the 311 from Sharjah into Dubai starting from the National Paints area to Dubai airport and on the E11 southbound from Ansar Mall to Al Qiyadah metro stop.

It was also heavy on the E84 from Fujairah near the Mleiha Archaeological Centre.

In Abu Dhabi, it was heavy on the E20 in both directions before Sweihan.

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Dense fog that has caused travel disruptions to last days