scorecardEmirates is dealing with a 30,000 bag backlog as it grovels to customers about its handling of Dubai floods
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Emirates is dealing with a 30,000 bag backlog as it grovels to customers about its handling of Dubai floods

Polly Thompson   

Emirates is dealing with a 30,000 bag backlog as it grovels to customers about its handling of Dubai floods
LifeThelife2 min read
  • Severe flooding caused by the heaviest rain in 75 years brought travel chaos to Dubai Airport last week.
  • The ongoing fallout has prompted Emirates boss Tim Clark to issue an apology to customers.

Emirates, the Middle East's largest airline, is still trying to return 30,000 leftover bags to customers affected by the torrential rains and flooding that brought Dubai Airport to a standstill last week.

Over the weekend, the airline's president, Tim Clark, acknowledged that Emirates' response to the disruption had been "far from perfect" and apologized to customers.

"I would like to offer our most sincere apologies to every customer who has had their travel plans disrupted during this time," Clark wrote in an open letter posted online on Saturday.

Calling the previous week "one of the toughest for Emirates operationally," he said that the airline had been forced to cancel nearly 400 flights and delay many more after storms brought the region's highest rainfall in 75 years.

"Flooded roads impeded the ability of our customers, pilots, cabin crew, and airport employees to reach the airport, and also the movement of essential supplies like meals and other flight amenities," Clark wrote.

In total, 1,478 flights had been canceled at the world's second busiest airport by Friday morning, according to Reuters.

While planes remained stuck on flooded taxiways, submerged roads surrounding the airport left some passengers stranded in the airport.

To accommodate disrupted passengers, Emirates said it had secured 12,000 hotel rooms and issued 250,000 meal vouchers.

Despite the chaos and a government warning telling people to stay at home, Emirates flight attendants in Dubai were also told to report for duty.

However, Clark acknowledged that many passengers had been frustrated by the congestion, lack of information, and confusion at terminals.

In an effort to handle the ongoing fallout, he said that a task force had been created to sort and return 30,000 pieces of left-over luggage to its owners.

The airline officially resumed regular flight operations at Dubai Airport on Saturday, but warned it would still take several days to clear the backlog.

Non-UAE-based carriers were still facing restrictions over the weekend. Foreign airlines with more than two flights in 24 hours were issued with a Notice to Air Missions (NOTAM) instructing them to reduce operations by 50%, Indian news agency PTI reported.

According to FlightRadar 24's data, all arrivals and departures were largely running to schedule again on Monday morning.

The oil-rich United Arab Emirates has become one of the most attractive economic hubs in the Gulf region.

Its efforts to diversify its economy away from oil, centered on Dubai as a tourism hot spot, have helped the country position itself as a major player on the world stage. In a sign of its growing popularity, the number of passengers traveling to Dubai Airport increased by 31.7% in the last year.




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