Dubai airport chief says normal operations to resume in 24 hours following storm chaos

Signs of recovery across transport networks after storms battered parts of the UAE

Flooding at Dubai International Airport, where 1,244 flights were cancelled and 41 diverted over two days. Photo: FL360aero
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Normal services will resume within 24 hours at Dubai International Airport, its operator said on Thursday evening.

Majed Al Joker, Dubai Airports' chief operating officer, said the airport would return to full capacity and a regular schedule within that time frame, state news agency Wam reported.

The airport was plunged into chaos when severe storms on Tuesday forced flights to be cancelled, delayed and, in some cases, diverted to other airports.

“Terminal 1 and Terminal 3 have already begun gradual normalisation, resulting in smoother movement,” he said.

“The airport's response and emergency teams, various departments and strategic partners and airlines have worked extensively to co-ordinate efforts to return to normal on the one hand, and to support and assist affected passengers and guests on the other.”

Organisations from the public and private sectors were working constantly to improve the situation at Dubai International Airport (DXB), he added.

Mr Al Joker commended “the dedicated staff for their tireless work in ensuring guest comfort and safety, expressing gratitude for travellers' understanding during this period”.

A total of 1,244 flights were cancelled at DXB and 41 diverted over two days, due to heavy rain and flooding on the runways, officials said on Thursday.

The airport halted operations for 25 minutes on Wednesday.

On Thursday, DXB said it was again receiving inbound flights at Terminal 1, while Emirates and flydubai opened check-in for passengers at Terminal 3.

At the beginning of the week, the country witnessed its heaviest rainfall since records began 75 years ago.

Some areas recorded more than 250mm of rain in less than 24 hours.

Safety is 'utmost priority'

Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed, Crown Prince of Dubai, said the safety of residents, citizens and visitors was of the “utmost priority”.

In a post shared to X on Thursday, Sheikh Hamdan said he had met government officials to prepare comprehensive plans to respond to natural crises such as unexpected weather.

“We closely monitored updates and emphasised that the safety of all citizens, residents, and visitors is our utmost priority,” Sheikh Hamdan wrote.

“Dubai's resilience grows with every challenge, ensuring we continuously adapt, improve and progress for the sake of our people's safety.”

Road to recovery

Despite the extreme weather that brought much of the country to a standstill, especially Dubai, there were strong signs of recovery on Thursday.

Dubai's Road and Transport Authority announced the city's taxis and buses were back in operation.

However, all intercity bus services between Dubai and other emirates remained suspended until further notice due to the unstable weather.

Key stretches of road also reopened, including parts of Oud Metha Road, Emirates Road (partially open at the Al Qudra intersection), Jebel Ali to Lehbab Road, Al Qudra Road (from Emirates Road to Jebel Ali – Lehbab Road), Al Khail Road (from Garn Al Sabkha Street to Al Mustaqbal Street) and Al Wasl Road.

A key stretch of Sheikh Zayed Road in Dubai also reopened.

The transport authority said the route from the Trade Centre roundabout to Al Maktoum Airport Street, towards Abu Dhabi, was open to traffic.

The Dubai Metro service was operational again on some Red and Green routes, officials said on Thursday.

The Red line routes from Centrepoint station to Business Bay station, and Jebel Ali station to Expo 2020 station were fully operational.

On the Green line, passengers could again use the route from Etisalat by e& station to Abu Hail station and Creek station to Gold Souq station.

All other affected stations offered bus services for commuters.

Sharjah Airport resumed operations after the heavy storm swept through the emirate causing major travel disruption.

The airport, which is home to budget airline Air Arabia, said travellers should check flight details with their airlines, state news agency Wam reported.

Passengers were advised to only travel to the airport if they have a confirmed booking.

Updated: April 18, 2024, 6:56 PM