ABU DHABI // Etihad Airways has apologised to passengers whose travel plans were disrupted by Saturday’s fog-caused delays.
“Etihad Airways apologises to its passengers for the inconvenience that this major disruption has caused and thanks them for their patience during these extremely challenging few days,” the company said.
The company said it was working to accommodate passengers who had been stranded in the city when heavy fog caused Abu Dhabi International Airport to be closed.
It said on Tuesday that in the past 24 hours it had booked these passengers into more than 2,000 hotel rooms in the city.
The company said flight schedules were returning to normal.
“The restructuring of Saturday night’s operations, including the cancellation of 20 return flights, has resulted in the easing of aircraft congestion at Abu Dhabi Airport as well as allowing other disrupted flights to operate,” it said.
In some cases, passengers had waited for up to 12 hours in planes stranded on the ground as Abu Dhabi airport struggled to find space for planes working out of the airport.
On one Etihad plane bound to Düsseldorf on Saturday, a 73-year-old male passenger died after passengers were kept on board for 13 hours. The plane eventually diverted to Vienna because of the medical emergency.
Etihad Airways diverted several other inbound flights to three airports in the UAE and delayed the arrival and departure of other services.
The company said its staff members continued to assist passengers at Abu Dhabi airport and at the hotels where disrupted passengers have been accommodated.
Furthermore, the company said it was working with its 24 partner airlines to find solutions for its passengers.
Those passengers who were due to fly before Tuesday were encouraged to rebook their flights through Etihad Airways’ contact centres.
The airline said it would waive normal cancellation and refund fees during this period, although it did not state whether passengers would receive compensation for the delays.