UAE Bans Flights, Emirates & Etihad Shut Down

Filed Under: Emirates, Etihad

Update: Emirates plans to gradually resume operations on April 6, 2020, then add service to nine destinations as of May 21, and then ramp up service resumptions as of July 1, 2020.

Can anyone keep up with the pace at which things are evolving? Yesterday Emirates announced that they’d cancel all flights indefinitely. Then less than two hours later the airline backtracked, saying they’d continue flying to over a dozen countries.

And now they’ve changed their plan once again, based on new government regulations.

UAE suspends all passenger flights for 14 days

Per a new directive from the UAE government, all passenger flights to & from the UAE are suspended for a period of two weeks starting Wednesday, March 25, 2020.

As it’s described, these measures are in place to contain the spread of COVID-19, and the country hopes to once again be open to air service as soon as feasible.

Emirates A380Emirates will suspend all flights for 14 days

Emirates & Etihad shutting down completely

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.

As of now it looks like Etihad still has inventory loaded over the ban period, though I’m guessing they just haven’t gotten around to updating it. Meanwhile Emirates seems to have removed most inventory.

Etihad will suspend all flights for 14 days

Why has Emirates gone back and forth?

In just under 24 hours we’ve seen Emirates state they’d cancel all flights, then backtrack, and then once again state that all flights would be canceled.

This last restriction is due to government regulations, which at other airlines would be an excuse for constantly changing policies. What makes the UAE unique is that the President of the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority is also the Chairman of Emirates Group, so I think it’s fair to say that Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum had some knowledge of the upcoming restrictions.

To me this is just another reminder of how fluid this situation is — for government regulators, for airlines, and for everyone. My guess is that the government of the UAE was going back and forth on the decision to suspend all flights.

Emirates has been sending mixed signals

This follows strict UAE immigration policies

The UAE banning flights altogether follows the UAE announcing some of the most stringent immigration policies about a week ago:

  • The UAE is banning nationals from leaving the country
  • The UAE is banning visa holder residents from entering the country
  • The UAE is suspending the issuance of all visas

At this point the UAE is more or less cut off from the rest of the world, between restrictions on passenger flights, as well as restrictions on entering and departing the country.

The UAE has added strict new immigration policies

Bottom line

At this point the UAE has banned passenger flights for a period of at least 14 days, so you can expect Emirates and Etihad to be shut down from March 25 through April 8, 2020, at a minimum.

I wouldn’t be surprised to see that extended, as this situation continues to evolve…

  1. Just for you update. Emirates and etihad cargo still on operation as normal, At the moment.
    All national is not allow to enter or out of the country as well as transit within the airport.

  2. The information we got in the UAE through local newspapers (most reliable in the Middle East where formal website communication is poor and where the local newspapers are very close to companies’ PR teams) is Emirates will resume flying June 30th. That was a shock to everyone.

    So a lot of us decided to leave yesterday or today because we didn’t want to be isolated until the end of June…

  3. Iam supposed to travel from EWR to Chennai on 2 April No that all Emirates flights has been cancelled indefinitely What is the meaning in getting travel voucher when iam not sure about resumption of flights

  4. Are you sure ? Saw an emirates A380 – and they don’t use them for cargo, go around my property NW of LHR yesterday (Heathrow’s runways are on reverse l)

  5. My flight was on 4th of April which is cancelled Now emerites sent me an email yesterday letting me know that the flight is cancelled
    Don’t know what to do as they did not mentioned the next time period when flights will be start

  6. PS: Ben Schlappig is NOT the Chairman of Emirates Airline. Sheikh Ahmed, who is (Chairman of Emirates Airline) undoubtedly an astute businessman, has not made the announcement, nor is he going to risk the lives of his his own people as well as the rest of the world. I should know as I have been associated with the Emirates group for more than 20 years while in the UAE.

    The schlappigs of the world will go to any lengths for a headline so dont pay heed to what he says.

  7. Will they operate again ?
    My ticket agent said they will nOt refund
    I m stuck in Pakistan

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