Passenger flights will begin May 21, including service between Chicago and Dubai.
Though most of us don’t know when we’ll travel again, Emirates is ready to put its planes back in the air. Today, the Dubai-based airline announced that it will resume passenger flights to nine destinations this month, including one city in the U.S.
As of May 21, Emirates flights will operate from Dubai to Chicago, London, Paris, Milan, Madrid, Toronto, Sydney, Frankfurt, and Melbourne, making it among the first airlines to resume long-haul services to the U.S. “We are pleased to resume scheduled passenger services to these destinations, providing more options for customers to travel from the UAE to these cities,” Adel Al Redha, Emirates’ chief operating officer said in a statement. As several of the destinations currently have travel bans and other entry restrictions in place, the airlines says it will only accept passengers who meet the criteria for entering their destination country.
For those concerned about safety on planes during the ongoing pandemic, the airline says they’ve made the necessary accommodations. “We have implemented additional measures at the airport in coordination with the relevant authorities in respect to social distancing and sanitization,” Al Redha said in the statement. “The safety and well-being of our employees, customers and communities, remain our top priority.”
Last month, the airline became the first in the world to begin using blood tests to screen passengers before they board Emirates flights; they have also announced that Emirates’ cabin crews, boarding agents, and ground staff who interact with travelers will be wearing personal protective equipment, including safety visors and disposable gowns. In-flight service has been modified to minimize contact, printed reading materials removed, and all cabin baggage must be checked. Planes are also being disinfected between every flight.
Since April, Emirates has primarily been operating repatriation flights for United Arab Emirates’ residents, after a two-week suspension of operations in late March per UAE government orders. In addition to the just announced passenger flights, Emirates will continue to fly repatriation routes prior to May 21, including those from Dubai to Tokyo Narita; Dubai to Conakry, Guinea; and Dubai to Dakar, Senegal.
Earlier this month, Qatar Airways announced that it was beginning to gradually resume service as well, and is planning to fly to 52 destinations by the end of this month. This includes two U.S. cities, Dallas and Chicago, according to a press representative for the airline. Turkish Airlines—which had stopped all international flights—is also increasing flight service gradually, Reuters reports. They plan to fly to 19 countries this month, and work up to 99 in September.
We’re reporting on how COVID-19 impacts travel on a daily basis. Find all of our coronavirus coverage and travel resources here.