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Emirates works on a contingency plan

But airline sees no end in sight to volcanic ash disruption.
Middle east, NEWS, Aviation

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Emirates is very closely monitoring the evolving airspace situation across Europe, going into a fifth day of cancellations caused by volcanic ash clouds emanating from Iceland, the airline has said in a statement.

Some 20% of Emirates' fleet - or 30 aircraft - remain on the ground with much of Europe's airspace still closed.

The disruption has cost the airline somewhere in the region of US$50 million. Emirates continues to provide hotel accommodation in Dubai for thousands of passengers who were in transit when the disruption began.

The airline is not accepting passengers for travel to any European destinations apart from Moscow, Athens, Larnaca, Malta and Istanbul until April 21.

Customers affected by the disruption can cancel their booking or change their onward destination without charge. Emirates has waived all re-issue and cancellation fees while the disruption is ongoing.

To date, over 250 Emirates' flights have been cancelled and more than 80,000 passengers have been impacted by the ongoing disruption.

In a statement, Emirates said: “It's important to understand that this is a complex situation involving tens of thousands of people and becomes more complicated as the days go by. We appreciate how difficult it is for everyone affected.

“Emirates is working on a contingency plan to ensure that we get flights and passengers moving as quickly as possible as airspace reopens. This will include extra flights. However, like every carrier, we cannot fully activate contingency plans until we receive clearance from European Air Traffic Control authorities. Until this happens, we are unable to give firm timescales.”

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