Can anyone keep up with the pace at which things are evolving? Yesterday Emirates announced that they’d cancel all flights indefinitely and now the United Arab Emirates has decided to ban all passenger air traffic for two weeks starting tomorrow (Wednesday, 25 March 2020).
While this new restriction impacts all airlines operating flights to the UAE, this also means that Emirates, Etihad, FlyDubai, etc., will be shutting down completely for a period of at least 14 days.
A few days ago, I wrote a blog detailing why I was waiting to cancel some upcoming flights and this is a prime example.
A directive was issued by the UAE government and here is the release from the Emirates News page:
The National Emergency and Crisis and Disasters Management and the Civil Aviation Authority have decided to suspend all inbound and outbound passenger flights and the transit of airline passengers in the UAE for two weeks as part of the precautionary measures taken to curb the spread of the COVID-19.
The decision, which is subject to re-assessment, will take effect in 48 hours.
In a statement today, the CAA said cargo and emergency evacuation flights would be exempt, taking into consideration all the precautionary measures adopted as per the recommendations of the Ministry of Health and Prevention.
“Additional examination and isolation arrangements will be taken later should flights resume in order to ensure the safety of passengers, air crews, and airport personnel and their protection from infection risks,” said the statement.
I believe that Emirates likely knew this development was coming as they had already announced a few hours earlier that they would end all passenger services by 25 March 2020.
I had an upcoming flight on Etihad. However because of this restriction, I can now receive a full refund without having to discuss vouchers, date changes, or future travel.
As you can see over the last few days, the situation around these transit bans and airport closures is very fluid at the moment.
The airlines are bleeding money at the moment and I can only imagine how difficult it will be to restart operations and build up the route network again after all reservations have vanished.
What do you make of this restriction? Do you think it will curb the spread of COVID-19?