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Dubai International Airport closed for passengers

26 March 2020

The Dubai International Airport, the world’s busiest airport for international travel, which handled 86.4million passengers in 2019 is closed for commercial passengers for the next two weeks and possibly longer.

The final flights departed the airport on Tuesday evening, 24th March, and then went into a 14-day flight ban into and out of the UAE, aimed at curbing the spread of the coronavirus.

The Al Maktoum International Airport, the other airport in Dubai, has also closed. The UAE has recorded 248 coronavirus cases so far.

The beaches, pools, parks, gyms, malls and restaurants have been shuttered across the country.

dubai airport closed

However, the immigration authority in the UAE has announced that it will not levy fines or penalties on those overstaying their visas, if they are trapped due to flight ban.

The Dubai International Airport marks its 60th anniversary this year. Its cargo flights will, however, continue to operate.

It has also said that it will cater to some "emergency evacuations" if required, but no further details have been revealed, and the passengers stranded in the airport are not aware of these, and do not know how to get home.

More than fifty percent of passengers travelling through Dubai International every year, use it as a transit stop. Moreover, with other hubs such as Hong Kong, Singapore Changi, and Istanbul Airport also banning or severely restricting transit traffic, travellers are unable to find any option.

The Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways also suspended all its operations for 14 days. The UK Foreign Office said it will try to arrange rescue flights for those stuck overseas, and is in talks with Singapore to use Changi as stopover. Those in emergency should try to contact their nearest embassy.

Robin Vinod

Writer/blogger who writes on topics such as travel, real estate, employment and everyday life on GCC countries.

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