Emirates is implementing a new round of flight suspensions, namely to Italy and the United States, due to the coronavirus outbreak and subsequent travel restrictions. The airline is also increasing its measures to fight the outbreak and would use thermal screening for all passengers on U.S.-bound flights from Dubai.
Emirates is suspending all flights to Italy from Dubai at least until April 3, 2020. Venice, Milan, Bologna and Rome flights are being suspended starting from March 12, 13, and 14, 2020 respectively. The final Italy-bound flight would take place on March 15. In addition, Emirates is suspending its flights to the United States: New York EWR – Athens, New York JFK – Milan, and Fort Lauderdale.
On the remaining U.S.-bound flights originating from Dubai, Emirates would be screening all passengers’ temperature, starting from March 12, the carrier announced on the day. Passengers found to have higher than normal temperature, would undergo further testing. All passengers arriving in Dubai are already being screened, it added.
Emirates will be implementing thermal screening measures for all passengers travelling on US flights departing from @DXB, effective tonight, 12 March 2020. This is in addition to the thermal screenings done for all passengers on arrival at @DXB. https://t.co/WhkKvhEXaU pic.twitter.com/D9wnDhFeIw
— Emirates Airline (@emirates) March 12, 2020
The newest cancellations come on top of the pre-existing cancellations to the Far East (Guangzhou, Shanghai, and Bangkok-Hong Kong) and to other countries in the Middle East (Kuwait, Tehran (Iran), and Saudi Arabia). However, between March 12-15, the airline is planning to operate several flights to/from the latter destination, but the “special” flights to Riyadh, Jeddah and Dammam are meant to facilitate passenger repatriation: only Saudi citizen would be allowed on flights towards Saudi Arabia, and only non-Saudi nationals would be allowed on flights to Dubai (UAE).
The airline is reportedly expecting falling passenger numbers to cause a blow to its finances. “At this stage, there is very little doubt that our financial performance for the year will be impacted,” was outlined in an internal staff notice, Reuters reported on March 8, 2020.
Earlier in March 2020, citing an excess of “resources” following flight cancellations and frequency cuts, Emirates already turned to its employees, asking them to take holidays or an unpaid leave for a month.