Emirates flights to Manila; Etihad re-start plans

By DG Staff

DUBAI 17 April 2020: Emirates airline plans to operate three more flights from Dubai to Manila next week, on 20th, 22nd and 24th April, to help more Filipinos in the UAE get home.

This follows the successful operation of two flights to Manila this week which have already brought many Filipino residents and visitors home. Flights can be booked on emirates website or via travel agents.

Only citizens of the Philippines and those who meet the entry requirements of the destination will be allowed to board. Passengers will be required to comply with all requirements of the destination country.

Similar to other repatriation flights that Emirates has operated thus far, for health and safety reasons, the airline will offer a modified inflight service that reduces contact, and the risk of infection.

Passengers will be 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. Emirates’ check-in counters will only process passengers holding confirmed bookings.

Etihad advisory on status and re-start plans

ABU DHABI: Subject to UAE government imposed travel restrictions being lifted on passenger travel, Etihad plans to operate a reduced network of scheduled passenger services from 1st May to 30th June.

The aim is to gradually return to a fuller schedule as and when the global situation improves, Etihad Airways said in a statement on Thursday.

Etihad is also continuing to operate a growing schedule of special passenger flights allowing foreign nationals in the UAE the opportunity to travel out of the country, and to carry essential belly-hold cargo such as perishables, pharmaceuticals, and medical supplies. To date, the airline has also repatriated almost 600 UAE nationals on return services.

Tony Douglas, Group Chief Executive Officer of Etihad Aviation Group, said, “The term ‘unprecedented’ is currently the most used in our industry, and the most appropriate. The monumental challenges being faced by all airlines, and our customers, have been beyond measure. However, we remain cautiously optimistic and will push ahead with our plans to resume normal flying, while striving to better serve and support our customers and our employees.

Unwavering support of shareholder

“While the intention is to assume a ‘business as usual’ approach to the restart of our operations, the aviation landscape has changed, and how it will look month by month is difficult to predict. This has necessitated a fundamental shift in focus for us. However, the cumulative gains achieved by our ongoing transformation, and the unwavering support of our shareholder, has left us in a relatively strong position to withstand any instability. We will pivot on this and act with agility to seize opportunities we may not have previously considered.”

Route and fleet efficiencies

He added that the airline is implementing a series of network-wide route and fleet efficiencies, while conducting an extensive brand study and trialling new service concepts in guest experience proposition. “We are also using this time to drive further internal improvements in the efficient use of automation and technology across all areas of the business, while maintaining productivity, creativity and quality.”

Currently, Etihad is using 22 Boeing 787 Dreamliners and 777-300ER passenger aircraft, with five more ready for service, to complement its operational fleet of five 777-200F freighters. These aircraft are providing scheduled and special passenger and belly-hold cargo services to several destinations worldwide.

Since 25th March, approximately 500 special passenger, freighter and cargo flights have been operated. These include passenger and belly-hold freight flights to Amsterdam, Bogota, Brussels, Dublin, Frankfurt, Jakarta, London Heathrow, Manila, Melbourne, Paris Charles de Gaulle, Seoul Incheon, Singapore, Tokyo Narita, Washington, DC, and Zurich, with other destinations planned.

Etihad has also revised the launch date of its inaugural service to Vienna from 22nd May to 1st July.

Etihad Airways Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner

Etihad Cargo is now operating up to 100 turnaround flights per week to 32 destinations on five continents. In addition to normal scheduled cargo services, special freighter and humanitarian flights have been flown to Addis Ababa, Amsterdam, Beijing, Bogota, Bucharest, Copenhagen, Chennai, Cochin, Dublin, Frankfurt, Jeddah, Johannesburg, Karachi, Khartoum, Kiev, Milan, Paris, Rome, Shanghai, Tbilisi, Wuhan, and Zagreb. More special flights will be introduced in the coming weeks, the UAE airline added.

With 80 percent of its passenger fleet on the ground, the airline has embarked on the biggest aircraft maintenance programme in its history. Etihad Engineering, the group’s Engineering Maintenance Repair and Overhaul division, is performing maintenance work on 96 passenger aircraft including 29 Airbus A320 and A321s, 10 Airbus A380s, 38 Boeing 787s, and 19 Boeing 777-300ERs.

The programme ranges from minor maintenance tasks, such as seat repairs and updates to inflight entertainment systems, to bringing forward scheduled engine changes and modifications on several aircraft, eliminating the need to withdraw them from service when flights begin operating again.

Support for customers

The main priority is to provide continued support to its affected customers and the airline has introduced a range of travel waivers, solutions and benefits to help ease the burden the pandemic is having, Etihad added.

“Customers who booked directly with the airline before 31st August 2020, now have greater flexibility to change their bookings or to utilise generous value-added Etihad Credit where possible. This credit will provide each customer with the value of their current unused ticket and up to US$400, plus up to 5,000 Etihad Guest Miles, for future travel.

“Additionally, for tickets purchased directly from Etihad within Europe or the United States, a refund is also available if requested,” it explained.

Outsourcing

The airline noted that its catering unit, Etihad Airport Services Catering, EAS, has been commissioned by various government entities, business organisations and community centres, to prepare and provide meals to individuals impacted by the current situation, EAS has cooked and delivered over 15,000 meals a day to people self-isolating or under quarantine, frontline medical staff, humanitarian drives and for various businesses across Abu Dhabi.

EAS is also delivering amenities and providing a laundry service for Etihad employees living in temporary isolation at the airline’s eco-residences in Masdar City so they can continue to operate essential freighter and special passenger flights. These include loadmasters, cargo agents, pilots and cabin crew. Etihad crew living in company provided accommodation and requiring a meal delivery service are also being catered for free of charge.

“The invaluable loyalty of our customers, our travel trade partners, and a phenomenal workforce which has continued to go above and beyond, despite taking temporary reductions in salary, will guarantee the security and continuity of the UAE’s great national airline,” concluded Douglas.

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