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Wednesday cuts: Emirates, Etihad bring groundings forward

written by Dylan Nicholson | March 25, 2020

Emirates and Etihad have now grounded all of their aircraft after the UAE brought forward its flight ban by 24 hours.

The only aircraft allowed to commence a journey will be those currently outside of the United Arab Emirates.

The news comes as more governments around the globe announce stronger travel restrictions.

An Emirates Boeing 777-300ER at Brisbane Airport. (Rob Finlayson)
An Emirates Boeing 777-300ER at Brisbane Airport. (Rob Finlayson)

The UAE’s flight ban had been due to commence tomorrow, however, the government of the United Arab Emirates has brought this ban forward. It is now in effect immediately. No flights will be allowed to leave the country. Only UAE aircraft returning to the country will be permitted to land.

This will no doubt cause more headaches for those attempting to return to home countries to repatriate during this pandemic as the UAE is one of the world’s key transit hubs for long-distance flights.

The majority of the aircraft that will be affected by the ban will come from just four airlines. These are Etihad, Emirates, flydubai, and Air Arabia.

Other airlines are also making further cuts:

  • Virgin Australia has announced it will be cutting 90 per cent of its domestic capacity and standing down 8,000 of its 10,000 staff. Subsidiary Tiger Air has suspended all flights.
  • South African British Airways franchise carrier Comair announced that it would be suspending all services.
  • European low-cost airline Ryanair has announced that it does not expect to operate any flights at all during April and May this year.
  • Southwest Airlines said on Friday that it had significantly scaled back its flights in and out of Midway International Airport, its Chicago hub, days after federal authorities closed the airport’s control tower after technicians tested positive for coronavirus. Southwest Airlines spokeswoman Brandy King said the Dallas-based airline cancelled about 170 of its roughly 250 daily flights.
  • The head of flight operations at Alaska Airlines told his pilots late Sunday that the carrier will cut 200 flights per day through March, out of roughly 1,300 a day in normal times. And in the next few days, Alaska will park 30 jets out of its mainline fleet of about 230 aircraft until further notice.


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