Coronavirus: Dubai’s Emirates returns $1.4 billion in COVID-19 travel refunds


Dubai’s Emirates has returned over 5 billion dirhams ($1.4 billion) in coronavirus related travel refunds so far, a statement issued by the airline Monday read.

The airline has been making public efforts to support customers throughout the pandemic, which has caused an unprecedented global slowdown in travel earlier this year as authorities closed borders in a bid to contain the spread of COVID-19. Many borders between countries continue to remain closed.

“We understand that from our customers’ standpoint, each pending refund request is one too many. We are committed to honouring refunds and are trying our utmost to clear the massive and unprecedented backlog that was caused by the pandemic,” Sir Tim Clark, president of Emirates Airline said in the statement.

“Most cases are straightforward, and these we will process quickly. But there are cases which will take a bit more time for our customer teams to manually review and complete. We are grateful to our customers for their patience and understanding,” he added.

Since March, Emirates says it has completed more than 1.4 million refunds, which represents around 90 percent of the backlog in requests. In April, the airline said it would begin to use its cash reserves to speed up processing of the refunds.

Later in July, Emirates announced that it was continuing to expand its processing capability to get through the refund backlog, with the airline ramping up processing from an average of 35,000 a month to nearly 200,000 requests a month.

Emirates has continued to expand its network after all passenger flights were originally cancelled to and from Dubai, the airline’s home. Dubai has since begun reopening for business and tourism, with Emirates now offering flights to over 80 cities around the world.

On Sunday, a spokesperson for the airline told Al Arabiya English that the company would restore its employees to full salaries starting from October. Emirates had previously slashed its workforce by nearly a third as it sort to cut costs amid plunging aviation demand.

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