DUBAI: Emirates, the largest airline in the Middle East, has announced to cover coronavirus-related medical costs of passengers.
“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 emirate’s media office said in a statement.
The announcement came shortly after the United Arab Emirates made testing mandatory for all inbound and transit passengers starting 1st August.
“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 chief executive, said on Twitter.
“This will boost travel confidence and once again positions Emirates and Dubai as aviation industry leaders.”
Passengers can claim up to 150,000 euros ($173,600) in medical expenses and up to 100 euros per day for 14 days in quarantine costs, if they are diagnosed with the disease. The policy will go into immediate effect and remain in place until 31st October, 2020.
“We know people are yearning to fly as borders around the world gradually re-open, but they are seeking flexibility and assurances should something unforeseen happen during their travel,” Sheikh Ahmed was quoted as saying.
The Dubai-based carrier halted operations in late March as part of global shutdowns to stem the spread of the novel coronavirus. It resumed operations two weeks later on a limited network and plans to fly to 58 cities by mid-August, down from over 150 before the crisis.
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 some 60,000 staff, including 4,300 pilots and nearly 22,000 cabin crew, according to its annual report. The airline had reported a bumper 21 percent rise in annual profits in March.