Emirates Air faced “tough year” as virus looms over travel

emirates travel virus dubai maktoum
Middle East

Emirates Air faced “tough year” as virus looms over travel

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Passenger levels for the Middle East’s largest airlines plummeted by 70 percent last year and it furloughed more than a quarter of its staff due to the coronavirus pandemic, Emirates’ chairman and chief executive said Monday. Despite the turbulence of last year and the continued uncertainty around global travel, Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum said he expects passenger levels for Dubai’s flagship carrier to climb back to nearly three-fourths of what they were before the COVID-19 outbreak by the end of the year. “It’s been a very tough year,” Al Maktoum said. “Our focus today is more on really putting back Emirates on the map the way it used to be.” Al Maktoum acknowledged, though, it’s been difficult to get approvals and wade through the myriad of regulations and other health authority rules of every country. “And sometimes it’s a nightmare,” he said. He spoke to reporters at Dubai’s Arabian Travel Market, billed as the world’s first travel and tourism event to take place in person since the global outbreak. The event highlights Dubai’s open embrace of tourists amid the pandemic still roiling parts of the world. Visitors to Dubai are not required

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