Emirates Has Almost Half A Million Refunds To Process

Emirates has almost half a million refunds to process. The United Arab Emirates flag carrier was forced to cancel an enormous number of flights due to a travel ban imposed by the UAE Government in late March.

Emirates, Boeing 777, Cabin
Emirates has almost half a million refund requests to process. Photo: Tom Boon – Simple Flying

Some airline schedules have been hit harder than others by varying flight bans enacted around the world. The hardest hit has been the carriers based in countries with complete flight bans. While limited flights have now resumed, the United Arab Emirates was one of the states that banned all flights in response to the current crisis. Currently, Emirates is faced with the mammoth task of refunding passengers for these canceled flights.

No small task

The number of refunds that airlines are currently having to deal with is unprecedented. So too are the conditions under which airlines are needing to process refunds. For example, Ryanair has said that as its staff is working from home, the airline is unable to process repayments for security reasons.

Emirates has almost half a million refunds pending. This is a substantial amount of cash to pay out that requires a high level of human resources. On any typical month, the UAE flag carrier handles around 35,000 refund requests.

Emirates Airbus A380 11 Years
The UAE carrier typically processes 35,000 refund requests per month. Photo: Tom Boon – Simple Flying

However, to address the vast backlogs, Emirates will be increasing the rate of refund requests that it handles. The carrier will increase its capacity to deal with refunds by over 300 percent to 150,000 per month. With the accelerated processing of refunds, the airline hopes to clear its backlog by early August.

Speaking of the situation, the airline’s President, Sir Tim Clark, said:

“It is a difficult time for us, as it is for all airlines. We are dipping into our cash reserves by being proactive in processing refunds, but it is our duty and responsibility. We would like to assure our customers and trade partners that we will honour refunds, and that we are doing our best to speed things up.

When will Emirates be flying as usual?

Emirates is currently only operating a skeleton service using its smaller Boeing 777 aircraft. As a result, many services remain suspended. It’s impossible to say when flights will resume. Many factors could still change, affecting future decisions.

As with many other countries, the UAE is likely waiting to see a notable decrease in new cases to ensure the virus has been contained. It is only after a prolonged period with no new infections that most countries would consider re-opening many aspects of normal life.

Emirates, Relaunch Flights, Airbus A380
The airline is currently planning to relaunch flights as usual in July. Photo: Getty Images

However, as things stand, the airline is now preparing for business as usual from the 1st of July, according to Routes Online. Even when a more routine service does resume, it is possible that the schedule would be smaller than pre-crisis. Several carriers, including Austrian Airlines, are planning for a prolonged return to normality.

Are you waiting for a refund from Emirates? What do you think of this latest news? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.