UPDATE: Etihad is suspending all online sales for flights before June 16. Click here to read more.
Etihad Airways is planning to resume regular passenger flights from Saturday, May 16.
Flights to and from the UAE are now bookable from that date to multiple destinations, but only flex fares are on offer as the journeys are dependent on the lifting of travel restrictions.
The Abu Dhabi airline is working with the UAE government and global aviation authorities to restart operations with a reduced schedule of flights.
Etihad's repatriation flights are operating until May 31, with the airline flying to 15 destinations. Dublin and New York are the latest destinations to be added to the schedule.
The airline had previously planned to restart flights on Friday, May 1. “While Etihad hoped to resume a reduced network of scheduled passenger services from May 1, subject to UAE government imposed travel restrictions being lifted, the airline will now delay this plan until at least May 16, due to the ongoing situation," said an Etihad spokesperson.
"Some flights remain bookable from May 16, however as the current suspension remains in place, this situation may change and Etihad will communicate any changes in due course," clarified Etihad.
As of Saturday afternoon, Etihad's website said: "Our aim is to gradually return to a fuller schedule as soon as it is safe for us to do so, but for now, our flights remain suspended, and will return on 16 May." The website had also revealed details of a new route to Vienna set to launch on Wednesday, July 1.
This information on the website has since been updated to state: "Our aim is to gradually return to a fuller schedule as soon as it is safe for us to do so, but for now, our flights remain suspended until 16 May."
Flights to India, Sri Lanka, London and the Philippines open for booking
Flights to and from several destinations are now open for booking with Etihad online. Fares on offer are all Flex fares, which offer a free date change and cancellation policy.
Flights to India are available to book, with an Etihad flight to Mumbai scheduled to depart Abu Dhabi International Airport on Saturday, May 16. One-way fares are from Dh2,213. Flights can also be booked from Mumbai to Abu Dhabi with the first service scheduled to fly on Sunday, May 17.
Tickets to Kochi are also available for booking, with a flight scheduled for Saturday, May 16 and another on Monday, May 18. Economy fares start from Dh2,453, one-way. Return options are also available for both flights.
Flights to and from India have been suspended since the nation announced a 21-day lockdown. Those measures have been extended until Sunday, May 3.
Etihad is also selling tickets on flights to Manila, with the first regular passenger flight set to depart Abu Dhabi for the Philippines on Sunday, May 17. One-way fares are available to book from Dh3,189.
To Islamabad, the first bookable regular passenger flight with Etihad is scheduled to leave the UAE on Sunday, May 17 with one-way fares from Dh2,324.
Passengers that wish to fly to Sri Lanka can book one-way fares from Dh1,934 for a flight to Colombo scheduled to leave Abu Dhabi on Saturday, May 16.
London Heathrow flights are also bookable, with regular services scheduled to resume on Saturday May 16 and one-way fares from Dh3,164. Etihad is also accepting bookings for flights from London to Abu Dhabi from the same date.
UAE authorities have yet to announce that borders are open for foreign nationalities, thus flight schedules remain subject to change.
Etihad announces additional repatriation flights from Abu Dhabi to 14 cities
Until May 15, Etihad is operating special repatriation passenger flights from Abu Dhabi to 14 destinations.
These flights give foreign nationals in the UAE the opportunity to travel out of the country, and allow Etihad to carry cargo, such as perishables and medical supplies. Return flights are also repatriating UAE nationals back to Abu Dhabi.
Destinations range from several European cities to Chicago, Manila, Melbourne and South Korea, with departure dates between now and mid-May.
Here's a breakdown of the additional special services, though scheduling remains subject to change:
- Amsterdam: Saturday, April 25, Monday, April 27, Wednesday, April 29, Saturday, May 2, Wednesday, May 6, Saturday, May 9, Wednesday, May 13
- Barcelona: Thursday, April 30, Thursday, May 7, Sunday, May 10, Thursday, May 14
- Brussels: Fridays and Sundays from Friday, April 24 until Friday, May 15
- Frankfurt: Saturday, April 25, Sunday, May 3, Sunday, May 10
- London Heathrow: Saturday, April 25, Wednesday, April 29, Thursday, April 30, Saturday, May 2, Wednesday, May 6, Saturday, May 9, Wednesday, May 13
- Zurich: Fridays and Sundays from Sunday, April 24 until Friday, May 15
- Chicago: Saturday, April 25
- Jakarta: Thursdays from April 30 until May 14
- Kuala Lumpur: Saturday, May 2, Saturday, May 9
- Manila: Tuesday, April 28, Thursday, April 30, Friday, May 1, Tuesday, May 5, Thursday, May 7, Friday, May 8, Tuesday, May 12, Thursday, May 14, Friday, May 15
- Melbourne: Tuesday, April 28, Friday, May 1, Tuesday, May 5, Friday, May 8, Tuesday, May 12, Friday, May 15
- Seoul Incheon: Saturday, April 25, Tuesday, April 28, Thursday, April 30, Saturday, May 2, Tuesday, May 5, Thursday, May 7, Saturday, May 9, Tuesday, May 12, Thursday, May 14
- Singapore: Tuesday, April 28, Tuesday, May 5, Tuesday, May 12
- Tokyo Narita: Monday, April 27
Travellers can book flights online or by calling 600 555 666 (UAE) or through a local or online travel agency.
Emirates to operate flights to eight destinations this week
Flights to Frankfurt will run on Saturday, April 25, Monday, April 27 and Wednesday, April 29. A flight to Jakarta will be operated on Sunday, April 26; to Johannesburg on Saturday, April 25; to Lagos on Sunday, April 26; and to Madrid on Wednesday, April 29.
The airline will operate five services to London Heathrow, on Thursday, April 23, Friday, April 24, Sunday, April 26, Tuesday, April 28 and Thursday, April 30. A flight to Tunis is also scheduled for Thursday, April 30. Manila flights will be operated on Friday, April 24, Tuesday, April 28 and Thursday, April 30.
Those who wish to travel to Johannesburg, Lagos and Tunis must contact their respective embassies or consulates in the UAE. For all other flights, passengers can book directly on emirates.com, selecting the one-way option, or via their travel agent.
Only citizens of the destination countries, and those who meet the entry requirements of the destination will be allowed to board. As on other repatriation flights, the airline will offer a modified inflight service, and passengers are required to apply social distancing guidelines during their journey and wear their own masks when at the airport and on board the aircraft.
Travellers should arrive at Dubai International airport Terminal 3 for check-in, three hours before departure.
No start date for commercial passenger flights
Emirates has yet to confirm a start date for resuming commercial passenger flights.
The Dubai airline recently suspended online reservations on some passenger flights leading to speculation that it would not resume flights until Wednesday, July 1 – the date that reservations currently reopen.
Emirates told The National that the situation, however, remains entirely changeable.
“Currently some of our flights are available for booking, however the situation remains dynamic and these flight services could be subject to change,” revealed an Emirates spokesperson.
“We aim to provide our customers with as much notice as possible should there be any changes,” they added.
Updated flight schedules
According to Routes Online – an aviation route specialist – Emirates recently filed updated changes to its summer 2020 operations, with almost all flights listed to commence from Wednesday, July 1.
However, Emirates has said that resuming passenger services depends on several factors, including government regulations and demand for travel.
“We are closely monitoring the situation, and we hope to resume services as soon as conditions allow. This includes receiving government approvals, the easing of travel restrictions, and commercial demand.”
The changing situation is evident in Routes Online's historical data for Emirates schedule changes. This shows that the flight schedule has been altered seven times already this month. The website also states that “additional changes are expected in the coming days.”
Emirates said it will update travellers with any confirmed schedule adjustments.
“We will announce any service resumption when we are in a position to do so,” said a spokesperson.
*This article has been updated to reflect further clarification from Etihad Airways