In what can only be described as the most bizarre roller coaster of information, the UAE will ban all passenger flights indefinitely, effective 25th March, 2020. This means a complete shutdown of operations for Emirates and Etihad passenger flights, with no passengers in or out of the UAE.
The United Arab Emirates Government had already mandated that all non citizens must remain abroad until further notice, and all citizens must stay in the country, and now no one else is moving either.
Per a notice from the UAE’s General Civil Aviation Authority, all passenger flights, scheduled or unscheduled, from March 25, 2020 at 00:00 local time are suspended until further notice, though some believe the situation will be re-evaluated after 14 days.
This means no passenger flights from any airline in or out, and obviously that means a complete shutdown for Etihad and Emirates during this time.
Let’s recap the last 24 hours, because it’s wild.
On the morning of March 22nd, 2020, Emirates announced a suspension of all passenger flights effective March 25th, until further notice. Then mere hours later, they deleted the press release, issuing a new release stating that travel would remain for…
Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, Japan, Philippines, Singapore, South Africa, Switzerland, the UK and USA.
Now, less than 24 hours later, here we go again, and perhaps this is where the merry-go-round stops. This new government directive will stop all non-essential cargo flights, and therefore Etihad and all other passenger carriers are now included.
In both releases yesterday, Emirates remarked that cost cuts would be put into place, but that no job cuts would be forthcoming at this time. It’ll be interesting to see if that holds true, with an indefinite date of return of passenger flights.
If these shutdowns have left you stranded, the best advice is to first communicate with Emirates about options on other airlines, and if they’re unable to provide alternative flights and you must travel, initiate a charge-back with your credit card company and contact your government’s local embassy for relief options and ideas.
Even if rumors of a 14 day reconsideration are true, that’s not what the government directive states, and that may be very optimistic as SARS-CoV-2 takes hold of the United States and Europe. This article will be updated if the entire position changes, again.