Dubai (AFP) – Emirates Airline said Thursday it is to resume a limited number of outbound passenger flights from April 6, less than two weeks after its coronavirus-enforced stoppage.
“Emirates has received approval from UAE authorities to restart flying a limited number of passenger flights,” its chairman, Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al-Maktoum, said on Twitter.
“From April 6, these flights will initially carry travellers outbound from UAE,” he said, adding that details would be announced soon.
Dubai-owned carrier Emirates, the largest in the Middle East with 271 wide-body aircraft, grounded passenger operations last week as the UAE halted all passenger flights to fight the spread of coronavirus.
The UAE, which groups seven emirates including Dubai, has declared 814 coronavirus cases along with eight deaths.
It has imposed a sweeping crackdown, including the flight ban and closure of borders.
Sheikh Ahmed said Emirates, which owns the world’s largest fleet of Airbus A-380 superjumbos with 113 in its ranks, was looking to gradually resume passenger services.
“Over the time, Emirates looks forward to the gradual resumption of passenger services in line with lifting of travel and operational restrictions, including assurance of health measures to safeguard our people and customers,” he said.
When Emirates suspended flights, it cut between 25 percent and 50 percent of the basic salary of its 100,000-strong staff for three months, saying it wanted to avert layoffs.
Dubai’s crown prince, Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum said Tuesday that Dubai will support the airline by injecting new capital.
Tourism, aviation, hotels and entertainment are key contributors to Dubai’s mostly non-oil economy.