PIA operations to Dubai restored

In Local
April 21, 2024



KARACHI:

The Pakistan International Airlines’ (PIA) operations to Dubai and Sharjah on Saturday were restored after 31 flights had been cancelled to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in the past four days because of the unprecedented torrential rains in the Gulf region.

Sources said eight PIA flights fly to Dubai on a daily basis.

However, they added that 21 flights to Dubai were cancelled in the past four days.

Heavy rains in the famous Gulf destination from April 16 severely affected the PIA’s operations to the region.

In an open letter to customers from Emirates President Tim Clark, he wrote that the ongoing week had been one of the toughest for the airline operationally, as record storms hit the UAE.

“I would like to offer our most sincere apologies to every customer who has had their travel plans disrupted during this time,” he added.

Read also: Dubai airport diverts flights as ‘exceptional weather’ hits Gulf

Clark noted that on April 16, the UAE experienced its highest rainfall in 75 years.

“Lashing storm winds and rain disrupted activity across the cities. Our 24/7 hub in Dubai remained open, with flight movements reduced for safety, but 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. We diverted dozens of flights to avoid the worst of the weather on Tuesday, and over the next three days we had to cancel nearly 400 flights and delay many more, as our hub operations remained challenged by staffing and supply shortages.”

He noted that to free up resources and capacity to manage impacted customers as a priority, Emirates had to suspend check-in for passengers departing Dubai, implement an embargo on ticket sales, and temporarily halt connecting passenger traffic from points across our network coming into the city.

“We deployed additional resources to aid our airport and contact centre teams with rebooking and put on additional flights to destinations where we identified large numbers of displaced customers. We sent over 100 employee volunteers to look after disrupted customers at Dubai Airport departures and in the transit area, prioritising medical cases, the elderly and other vulnerable travellers. To date, over 12,000 hotel rooms were secured to accommodate disrupted customers in Dubai, 250,000 meal vouchers have been issued, and more quantities of drinking water, blankets, and other amenities”

The Emirates president further wrote that since Saturday, the airline’s regular flight schedules had been restored

Read: PIA eyes profit with EU flights resumption

“Passengers previously stranded in the airport transit area have been rebooked and are en route to their destinations. We have put together a task force to sort, reconcile, and deliver some 30,000 pieces of left-behind baggage to their owners.”

Separately, the PIA has decided to make the French capital of Paris a hub for its European flight operations.

As the PIA is likely be given the nod to resume its flights to European destinations after four years, the national carrier has stepped up its plans for this purpose.

According to sources, the PIA management is confident that the European Air Safety Committee meeting on May 14 to 16 will allow the airline to resume its operations to Europe.

The resumption of the PIA flights to European countries will generate billions of rupees annually. The national carrier has lost Rs120 billion so far because of the ban on its flights to European countries imposed in July 2020.

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