Emirates to process half a million refunds by August

The Dubai airline is managing a backlog of refund requests due to cancelled flights and travel restrictions

Emirates is gradually scaling up operations. AP
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Emirates has reassured any travellers that are waiting for refunds for cancelled flights that they will receive their money back by early August.

The Dubai airline is in the process of managing nearly half a million refund requests after flights were grounded around the world in an effort to stem the spread of the coronavirus through air travel.

This resulted in an unprecedented number of requests, which subsequently has caused delays in processing times for refunds.

Updated Covid-19 waiver policies mean passengers can rebook travel, exchange flights for a travel voucher or request a refund from Emirates. Courtesy Emirates 

Emirates has now bolstered its operations to be able to process 150,000 refund requests per month. Before the coronavirus pandemic, the airline handled an average of 35,000 requests per month.

"We are dipping into our cash reserves by being proactive in processing refunds, but it is our duty and responsibility. We would like to assure our customers and trade partners that we will honour refunds, and that we are doing our best to speed things up," said Sir Tim Clarke, president of Emirates Airline.

Emirates has assured customers that it will clear its current backlog of requests by early August now that its waiver policy has been simplified.

"The situation was dynamic in the early weeks of the pandemic, but we have since rewritten our Covid-19 waiver policy into a simple, globally applied approach that puts customers first," said Clarke.

The airline is contacting any travellers who had previously submitted refund request or booking changes to inform them of their refund or rebooking options.

Rebook, exchange or refund

Emirates offers passengers three options when it comes to flights that have been affected by cancellations or travel restrictions.

Customers can keep tickets for two years and use them when they are ready to fly. This applies to any tickets booked on or before Tuesday, June 30, 2020 for travel before Monday, November 30, 2020.

Travellers can exchange an unused portion of a ticket for a travel voucher equivalent to the original amount paid. This can be used for any Emirates product or service, and can be used in more than one transaction.

Customers who are unable to travel can also apply for a refund, with no penalties.

Travellers who booked flights via travel agents should contact their agent for assistance, but the same options will apply.

Flights to resume 'soon'

"For those who have opted to hold their tickets or exchange it for travel vouchers, we look forward to welcoming you on our flights again soon. Announcements will be made whenever we are able to resume services," concluded Clarke.

Last week, Emirates said it had no confirmed date for restarting flights to and from the UAE. Etihad, the national airline for the UAE, plans to restart flights on Saturday, May 16.