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Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 14 December 2018

Fog leaves passengers stranded at Dubai airport for up to 15 hours

Dubai Police also recorded more than 50 traffic accidents between 6 and 9.30am

Heavy fog in Dubai led to major traffic disruptions across the city. Chris Whiteoak / The National
Heavy fog in Dubai led to major traffic disruptions across the city. Chris Whiteoak / The National

Thick fog again enveloped the country on Sunday, contributing to more than 50 traffic accidents and dozens of delayed flights on Christmas Eve.

Dubai Police received more than 1,520 reports of incidents across the emirate and recorded 54 traffic accidents between 6am and 9.30am.

Col Turki bin Fares, director of the traffic command centre, called on motorists to drive carefully and ensure their low-beam lights were working before setting off.

Col bin Fares reminded motorists to leave enough space between vehicles, and to allow for extra time for their journeys.

In Dubai, about 53 flights were diverted as the fog caused severe travel disruptions. Some of the flights were diverted to Dubai World Central.

Travellers were left stranded at Dubai International Airport for up to 15 hours while trying to rebook missed connecting flights.

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

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.

Passengers queued at the Emirates counter for hours. They took to Twitter to express frustration and share videos of halls filled with people queuing.

“Hundreds with missed @emirates connections at Dubai airport and not one emirates employee on the connections desk to help,” tweeted Claire Smith, who used the hashtag #getushomeforxmas.

By last night the departures board at Dubai airport showed delays of up to four hours and some cancellations.

Jonathan Woodward, 32, was scheduled to land in Dubai 8.30am from London to catch a connecting flight to Melbourne so he could attend the fourth Ashes cricket Test between England and Australia on Tuesday.

“We were diverted to Kuwait and arrived around 10am then landed in Dubai at 2.30pm,” Mr Woodward said. “I missed my flight and now I have been in a queue of passengers from different destinations and going to destinations.”

He said he and his fellow passengers had yet to be approached by airport or airline staff with updates or information about rebooking.

“We are in a queue for a flight,” Mr Woodward said. “We are not sure when or if it’s going to fly, we were just told that we can leave for a few hours but not told when to return. We were not given an exact time for an exact flight.

“The board says the next flight will take off at 1.05am but no more details on it.”

He said he transited through Dubai two years ago but after being “stranded like this” without any proper communication from the airlines, it would be his last time travelling through the city.

“I will take other airlines, fly from other cities,” Mr Woodward said.

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Read more:

Fog disrupts Christmas Eve flights at Dubai airport

Dense fog that has caused travel disruptions to last days

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

But Etihad Airways has anticipated flight delays and cancellations and advises guests holding bookings over the next few days to check the status of their flights.

The company will continue to monitor the weather conditions, and said that “the safety of our guests and crews remains our utmost priority”.

Meanwhile, the National Centre of Meteorology warned of more fog on Monday morning, with visibility likely to decrease to 500 metres in some northern, central and eastern areas of the country. It warned that this could last until 11am.