Emirates keeps taking pre-emptive actions to counter the virus-driven impact on the global airline industry. This time, it has targetted cuts to Africa. Image Credit: Gulf News Archive

Dubai: Emirates airline has announced further flight suspensions to some destinations that include Cairo, Algiers, Tunis, and Khartoum as counter measures to contain the coronavirus.

Starting March 18, flights to Algiers and Khartoum will be suspended until the end of the month, while flights to Cairo, one of Emirates’ busiest routes in Africa, will be suspended until March 31. Flights to Tunis are suspended effective today and will run until May 20.

Also in North Africa, flights to Casablanca have been suspended since March 16 up to the end of this month.

“The situation remains dynamic, and our flight schedules may change at short notice to comply with regulatory directives or operational requirements,” Emirates said on its website. “We aim to provide affected customers with updated information as early as possible.”

Elsewhere, Emirates’ flights to Mexico City (via Barcelona) are suspended from March 20 to April 30. Flights to and from Peshawar have been rerouted through Islamabad from March 15. Emirates said affected customers “will need to make their own way to rerouted airports”.

In Europe, the Dubai carrier’s flights to and from Barcelona will be suspended from March 20 until April 30. Flights to Madrid are suspended effective today to end April.

Etihad too curtails Cairo exposure

As of mid-day on Wednesday (March 18), Abu Dhabi's  Etihad announced suspending flights to Cairo. Many passengers intending to travel, or having Cairo as part of their journey, have been impacted by the cancellations.

For those due to fly before June 30, but whose flights have been cancelled, or directed not to travel by their local authorities and unable to commence their journeys due to restrictions preventing their departure, they can  rebook for departures up to June 30 without standard change fees.

Etihad too has curtailed its Cairo flights. The Abu Dhabi ariline has given details instructions on refunds. Image Credit: Gulf News Archive

Only one change is permitted. Further changes will attract standard fees. Any re-routing or rebooking can only proceed if there are no travel restrictions to intended routes.

How to get those refunds

If their flights have been cancelled or there are restrictions imposed on such journeys, passengers may request a fare refund without penalty on the unused portion of any tickets. Refunds for all other ticket holders will be based on the applicable fare rule.

Passengers who have booked directly with Etihad and are impacted by route suspensions that exceed four weeks may seek refunds by completing a request form at www.Etihad.com/refund.

Passengers who booked their flights through a travel agent or third-party booking agent and are impacted by route suspensions which exceed four weeks, should contact their issuing agent to request a cancellation or refund.

Passengers who are booked to travel on Etihad flights, but prohibited by government directives from departing their point of origin or arriving at their destination, may also claim refunds through either of the above processes.

Passengers who have used Etihad Guest Miles to pay for their travel are also eligible to cancel or rebook flights if their travel is impacted by flight cancellations or by travel restrictions imposed to help contain the spread of the Covid-19 virus.

Gulf routes also figure in reschedules
Etihad has reduced its frequency to Bahrain to once daily from thrice a day until March 31. During April, flights will be raised to twice daily. Flights to Kuwait have all been suspended till the end of this month.
The carrier's flights to and from Indian destinations have also been affected. These include services to Bangalore, Chennai, Cochin, Hyderabad, Delhi, and Mumbai, all of which have their frequency cut.