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Dubai Airports CEO Says Hub is ‘100% Operational’ Despite 1,200 Cancellations

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Paul Griffiths says he’s never seen anything like it as his airport cancels hundreds of flights a day.

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Over 1,200 flights have been canceled and 40 diverted in Dubai since an immense flash flood ground the city to a halt on Tuesday. It’s been three days since the storm and Dubai International Airport is still scrambling, however, CEO Paul Griffiths says the hub is “100% operational.”

Griffiths said on local radio Friday morning: “We’re in a position now where the airport is 100% operational with a focus on getting the flight schedule back to normality. It’s going to be quite a while until we’re back at normal schedule levels. We’re on the right trajectory.”

“It’s a very challenging time. The sheer volume of people displaced is significant, we’ve never seen anything like it.”

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In order to ease pressures at the airport, Dubai airport is cutting arrivals and focusing on departing flights. The CEO explained: “The departure flow rate has been improving and that’s our main focus. The only way to reduce the volume of people on the ground is by increasing the departure rate [from Dubai].”

The airport has also told passengers not to arrive “too early,” around two hours before their departure, in order to reduce overcrowding in the busy terminals.

While check-ins for Emirates and Flydubai have reopened, the airport said that its main Terminal 3 was backed up as travelers deal with cancelations and lengthy delays.

“There is currently a high volume of guests in [the] Terminal 3 check-in area,” it said in a statement on its website. “Passengers should only come to Terminal 3 if they have received a confirmation from their airline regarding their flight departure.”

Emirates Cancels Connecting Flights

Emirates passengers this morning have been told to turn back if their flight connects in Dubai, or if they arrive in Dubai before April 19, 11:59PM GMT.

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The airline states: “Check-in is suspended for customers with onward connections through Dubai until 23:59 GMT on 19 April(0:3.59hrs Dubai local time, 20 April). Customers will only be accepted for travel at their point of origin if the flight departs after 23:59hrs GMT, 19 April. Passengers already in transit in Dubai, with Dubai as a final destination, or departing from Dubai can continue to check in and travel.”

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Dubai Airports CEO on ‘Misleading Social Media’

It was the worst rainfall in 75 years for the UAE. The area saw more than 10 inches (254.8mm) of rain in less than 24 hours.

Social media has been awash with videos and images of people displaced by floods; cars driving through water; and aircraft at DXB partially submerged.

Griffiths said in the interview that social media has been “misleading” in showing the severity of the flood, and passengers should go to DXB’s own “source of truth.”

An image of Terminal 3 sent to Skift on Thursday, April 18, 2024.

He said: “There’s no doubt about it, some of the things circulating on social media are misleading. We’re trying to put a huge amount of communications out there to make sure people have the source of truth. One of the challenges people are reporting is airlines being difficult to get in touch with.”

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