Dubai airport: Full schedule resumes after flooding chaos

Dubai’s major airlines say they have resumed a full flight schedule after torrential rain hit the United Arab Emirates and neighbouring countries causing chaos at Dubai airport.

Emirates and flydubai said operations were back to normal on Saturday but a passenger backlog remained.

The boss of Emirates said the airline’s response was not perfect.

The storm battered the UAE on Tuesday, causing flash floods and bringing travel through the airport to a halt.

Priority will be given to passengers whose travel plans had been disrupted.

A flooded taxiway meant planes were unable to reach the runway to take off and passengers were left stranded in the terminal building,at Dubai International Airport.

The president of Emirates, Sir Tim Clark said: “Passengers previously stranded in the airport transit area have been rebooked and are en route to their destinations.”

The open letter posted on the airlines’ website on Saturday, announced that regular flight schedules had been restored, but it would take them “some days” to clear the backlog of rebooked passengers. A taskforce has also been established to sort and deliver the around 30,000 pieces of luggage left behind.

“We ask for our customers’ patience and understanding,” Sir Tim said. Apologising to their customers, he acknowledged that their response was not “perfect”, citing a lack of information and confusion in the terminals.

Earlier this week, air passengers stuck at the airport told the BBC of the “pure chaos” they saw.

Sarah Jane Cahill from Dublin, had planned to board her connecting flight from Sydney to Dublin on Thursday afternoon, but was still at the airport on Friday night.

She said that “thousands are stranded” and that the airport was “a sea of bodies on every surface”.

“There were people in chairs, couches, on the floor outside bathrooms, sleeping on cardboard,” she told the Press Association.

Over the past three days, the airline has cancelled nearly 400 flights and delayed many more.

Some inbound flights resumed on Thursday, while outbound flights continued to be delayed. They later announced that check-in was open at Terminal 3 for Emirates and flydubai flights.

Flydubai’s travel update on Saturday said they had returned to operating its full flight schedule from Terminal 2 and 3, with priority over the next few days to be given to their “passengers whose travel plans have been impacted.”

Similarly, Emirates said their focus was on those who have faced travel disruptions.

Sir Tim added they had suspended check-in for departing passengers, embargoed ticket sales and stopped connecting passengers from arriving to make sure the focus was on affected customers.

With flights running on their regular schedules, Paul Griffiths, the head of Dubai airports, said departure flow is “improving”.

Dubai International Airport is the world’s second busiest airport, serving more than 80 million passengers in 2023. This year, nearly 90 million are expected to pass through the hub, which is a major connecting point between Europe and Asia.

Source: BBC