Emirates to cover fliers’ virus-related medical costs

Update Emirates to cover fliers’ virus-related medical costs
The airline said the coverage is good for passengers flying until Oct. 30. (File/AFP)
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Updated 24 July 2020

Emirates to cover fliers’ virus-related medical costs

Emirates to cover fliers’ virus-related medical costs
  • Emirates said passengers can claim medical expenses of up to 150,000 euros and quarantine costs of 100 euros per day for 14 days

LONDON: Emirates, the largest airline in the Middle East, will cover customers’ coronavirus-related medical costs in a bid to “boost travel confidence,” the Dubai Media Office reported on Thursday.

“Emirates will cover its passengers for COVID-19 related medical expenses and quarantine costs when they travel on board Emirates, to and from the UAE and around the world, free of charge,” the emirates’ media office said.

The Dubai-based carrier, which operates a fleet of 270 wide-bodied aircraft, halted operations in late March as part of global shutdowns to stem the spread of the coronavirus.

Two weeks later, it resumed operations on a limited network and plans to fly to 58 cities by mid-August, down from over 150.

The announcement came shortly after the UAE made testing mandatory for all inbound and transit passengers starting Aug. 1, according to state media.

“Emirates will be the first airline to offer free cover for COVID-19 medical costs for customers when they travel to & from UAE & around the world,” Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Emirates group chairman and CEO, said on Twitter. “This will boost travel confidence and once again positions Emirates and Dubai as aviation industry leaders,” he said.

Passengers can claim up to €150,000 ($173,600) in medical expenses and up to €100 per day for 14 days in quarantine costs, should they be diagnosed with the disease, the Dubai Media Office said in a statement.

“We know people are yearning to fly as borders around the world gradually reopen, but they are seeking flexibility and assurances should something unforeseen happen during their travel,” the Emirates chairman was quoted as saying.

The policy will go into immediate effect and remain in place until Oct. 30, 2020.

Emirates President Tim Clark has said that it could take up to four years for operations to return to “some degree of normality,” and the airline could lay off up to 15 percent of its staff.

Before the pandemic crisis hit, Emirates employed about 60,000 staff, including 4,300 pilots and almost 22,000 cabin crew, according to its annual report.

The airline had reported a bumper 21 percent rise in annual profits in March.