Emirates airline says flight schedules restored after Dubai floods

Clean-up continues in aftermath of storm that saw one maintenance company take 2,500 calls in one day

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Authorities, communities and residents in Dubai and across the UAE are working hard to clean up after Tuesday’s storm.

Municipal staff were working around the clock to drain flooded streets, while residents removed cars left on the roads in the wake of the deluge.

Emirates on Saturday said its flight schedules had been restored, as airlines worked to restart services.

"As of this morning, Saturday, April 20, our regular flight schedules have been restored," Emirates president Sir Tim Clark said.

"Passengers previously stranded in the airport transit area have been rebooked and are enroute to their destinations," said Sir Tim, who also apologised to customers who had travel plans disrupted over the past few days.

"We have put together a taskforce to sort, reconcile and deliver some 30,000 pieces of left-behind baggage to their owners."

Sir Tim said dozens of flights were diverted to avoid the worst of the weather on Tuesday and over the next three days "we had to cancel nearly 400 flights".

Flydubai said it also had restored services.

UAE records heaviest rainfall in 75 years

UAE records heaviest rainfall in 75 years

"Flydubai has returned to operating its full flight schedule from Terminal 2 and Terminal 3 at Dubai International (DXB)," a representative said.

"Our focus over the coming days continues to be on our passengers whose travel plans have been impacted."

Paul Griffiths, chief executive of Dubai Airports, said "departure operations are witnessing a steady improvement".

Many Emirates passengers arriving in Dubai were unable to collect their baggage, however the airline has said people can now head to the airport to retrieve it.

"Please proceed to the left luggage arrivals area in Terminal 3 (opposite exit 1, behind Boots Pharmacy)," the company wrote on X.

"Please bring your baggage tag along. The collection area is open 24 hours. Our team will also deliver bags to those who have filed a report, but it will take time.

"Customers who have delayed baggage and already have a file reference number (PIR), can access information and updates about their delayed baggage at http://emirat.es/baggagestatus.

"Please do not proceed to the airport to collect your baggage until our local team contacts you."

In a statement published on state news agency Wam, Mr Griffiths said Dubai Airports was striving to restore normal operations as quickly as possible, providing assistance to passengers whose flights have been delayed and facilitating their onward travel as soon as possible.

"Our teams continue to distribute food and water throughout the airport to meet their needs," he said.

Dubai Airports on Friday had limited the number of arriving flights from midday for 48 hours and had urged departing passengers to not arrive too early for flights. It said three hours before their departure was adequate to prevent overcrowding.

Mr Griffiths urged all passengers to check directly with airlines for the latest information on their flights and to arrive at the airport no later than two hours before their scheduled departure time. He said: "We understand that this situation is causing inconvenience to many, so please accept our sincere apologies."

"These unprecedented circumstances pose unique challenges, and we are constantly working with all relevant authorities and the airport community to address them.

"We appreciate the patience and cooperation of our guests during this period. Together, we will overcome this situation with resilience and determination."

Major General Mohamed Ahmed Al Marri, director general of the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA), said Dubai's air, land, and seaport officers had helped 419,047 passengers over April 15 to 17.

Hundreds of water tankers and pumps were being used in Dubai, meanwhile, to clear water from motorways such as E11 (Sheikh Zayed Road) and the 311 (Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Road).

Dubai Metro’s Green Line was fully back up and running, the Roads and Transport Authority said on Friday.

Efforts were under way to restore all services on the Red Line.

Disruptions were still being reported across the UAE despite the rain having largely subsided on Tuesday night.

The severity of the storm was illustrated by the fact one UAE maintenance company, Fixperts, received at least 2,500 calls on Tuesday alone – a huge increase on the 250 it typically gets.

Mohamed Ayad, chief executive of Fixperts, told The National he had never seen anything like Tuesday's deluge.

“The first couple of hours were very difficult because access was the main challenge,” Mr Ayad said on Saturday. “We couldn’t reach a lot of clients immediately. That was hard.”

Mr Ayad said the company heeded weather warnings before the storm and stocked up on electrical parts and water pumps, while laying on extra call centre staff to deal with the expected surge in calls.

The company’s 100 vans were all deployed to try to help people deal with the situation.

The most common problems the company tackled were power cuts caused by water that flooded electrical systems, inundated basements, damage inside properties from water penetration and cars stuck in garages.

“We saw houses flooded with water with the levels up to your waist,” he said. “There was furniture damaged, cars stranded and trees knocked over,” he said.

“We have never seen anything like this before,” he said. “It was the biggest.”

Updated: April 21, 2024, 1:47 PM