With the world carefully and slowly opening up again in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, Emirates has announced its plan to operate scheduled flight services from 21 May to nine destinations. These include London, Frankfurt, Paris, Milan, Madrid, Chicago, Toronto, Sydney and Melbourne. It will also offer connections in Dubai for customers travelling between the UK and Australia.
In addition to the scheduled services, Emirates is working closely with embassies and consulates to facilitate repatriation flights for visitors and residents wishing to return home. It will be operating flights from Dubai to Tokyo from 15 May, and Conakry and Dakar from 16 May. Travellers will only be accepted on these flights if they comply with the eligibility and entry criteria requirements of their destination countries. Last month, Emirates began offering pre-flight rapid COVID-19 testing for passengers that could be used to confirm passengers travelling to countries that require COVID-19 health certificates.
The airline has already enhanced precautionary measures, so at Dubai International airport, customers and employees will have their temperatures checked via thermal scanners. Protective barriers have been installed at check-in counters to provide additional safety during an interaction, and gloves and masks are mandatory for all customers and employees at the airport. In addition, Emirates’ cabin crew, boarding agents and ground staff who interact directly with travellers will use personal protective equipment including a protective disposable gown and safety visor.
Social distancing protocols will also be implemented. At this airport, this includes physical indicators being placed on the ground and at waiting areas to ensure travellers maintain a safe distance. For health and safety reasons and to minimise interaction on-board, Emirates will offer modified in-flight services. Magazines and print reading material will not be available, cabin baggage has to be checked-in, and customers can only bring essential items such as a laptop, handbag, briefcase or baby items on board.
Emirates has also initiated a stringent safety programme to ensure aircraft cabins remain clean and sanitary. “We are working closely with the authorities to plan the resumption of operations to additional destinations,” says Adel Al Redha, Emirates’ chief operating officer. “We have implemented additional measures at the airport in coordination with the relevant authorities concerning social distancing and sanitization. The safety and wellbeing of our employees, customers and communities, remain our top priority.”