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UPDATE: Emirates cancels Friday flights to Europe

Carrier grounds morning departures to UK, France, Germany, Russia.
NEWS, Aviation

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Emirates Airline flights to the UK, scheduled to leave Dubai early on Friday morning, have been cancelled due to the continuing problems associated with the Icelandic volcano eruption.

On the official Emirates website, it said Friday's flights from Dubai to London Heathrow, scheduled to leave at 2.30am, 7.45am and 9.50am, have been cancelled. Flights to London Gatwick, which were due to depart Dubai at 2.50am and 8am, have also been cancelled.

Morning flights to other UK airport destinations including Birmingham, Newcastle, Manchester and Glasgow have also been grounded, making a total of nine flights cancelled to the UK so far on Friday.

Destinations in France and Germany have also been hit with the Emirates flight to Paris, due to leave Dubai at 8.20am, scrapped, the service to Nice due to take off at 9am cancelled, as is the 8.25am service to Frankfurt, the 8.40am flight to Dusseldorf and the 9am Hamburg flight.

The 9.35am service to Moscow has also fallen victim to the continuing impact of Wednesday night's volcanic eruption.

The Dubai carrier said it was still waiting for information from UK air traffic control before announcing whether flights to the UK could be resumed later on Friday.

The UK's air traffic control service (Nats) said no flights would be allowed in UK airspace until at least 7am local time (10am UAE time) on Friday amid fears of engine damage.

Safety group Eurocontrol said the problem could persist for 48 hours, according to a report on the BBC website.

Emirates also said on Thursday it would not charge customers any fees relating to flights affected by the Icelandic volcano eruption.

The airline said it would waive all reissue and cancellation fees for those affected by the disruption. However, the airline has come in for criticism from some passengers who have been told no refunds will be given due to the airline's rules on "natural calamities".

Other airlines, including British Airways, said it would be giving compensation to travellers affected by the disruption.

In a statement to Arabian Business, an airline spokesperson said: "All UK airports are currently closed under the directive of the UK’s Air Traffic Control Service as a volcanic ash cloud from Iceland continues to affect British airspace.

"Like every other carrier operating flights to the UK, Emirates will not be able to resume services until clearance is given from UK Air Traffic Control.

"Until this time, any Emirates customer due to travel to the UK can cancel their booking or change their onward destination without charge.

"All reissue and cancellation fees will be waived for those affected while the disruption is ongoing. Any customers who require assistance with rebooking their flights can contact our call centre on +971 4 214 4444."

It added that full refunds would be given to those passengers who chose to cancel flights.

Earlier on Thursday, Emirates cancelled all its flights to the UK.

Etihad Airways also said it had cancelled the following flights: EY21, Abu Dhabi to Manchester; EY22, Manchester to Abu Dhabi; EY17, Abu Dhabi to Heathrow, EY18, Heathrow to Abu Dhabi; and EY20, Heathrow to Abu Dhabi.

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