UAE opts to suspend all passenger flights

Published: 23 March 2020 - 6:30 a.m.

United Arab Emirates authorities have announced that all passenger and transit flights in the country will be temporarily suspended. Taking effect on Wednesday, the freeze will last for a period of two weeks, with a few exceptions.

Emirati authorities "have decided to suspend all inbound and outbound passenger flights and the transit of airline passengers in the UAE for two weeks as part of the precautionary measures taken to curb the spread of the COVID-19."

The decision will be subject to review following the two week period. Only cargo and emergency flights from the Arab country will be allowed.

The country-wide operational freeze comes a week after the International Air Transport Association (IATA) called on all MEA governments to support the aviation industry through these turbulent times.

Data from IATA showed the Middle Eastern aviation industry has lost US$7.2 billion in revenue as of March 11 2020. This is in part caused by a spike in booking cancellations; since the end of January, 16,000 flights in the region have been cancelled.

Globally, the aviation sector is thought to need an injection of US$200 billion to save it from crumbling.

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