An Emirates Airbus A380 with the UAE’s 40th National Day logo. The carrier has said it will reinforce on-time performance by closing check-in counters 60 minutes before departure. Image Credit: WAM

Dubai: Emirates airline has said that from December 1 it will not accept last-minute check-ins for flights, which often result in delays in arrivals at destinations.

Passengers will have to check in at least an hour before departure time, the airline said in a statement.

"Check-in counters are open at least three hours before the flight departure and will now close 60 minutes prior to departure from December 1, 2011. However, passengers are requested to report to the check-in counters no later than 90 minutes prior to departure in keeping with the airline's commitment towards greater efficiency and an enhanced travel experience," Emirates said.

"Customers who check in with less than 60 minutes to their scheduled flight will not be accepted to board the aircraft, ensuring that passengers who have already checked in and boarded will not be inconvenienced by delays and possible missed connections."

The new policy will force many last-minute passengers to change habits and improve Emirate's on-time performance. The airline operates all wide-bodied aircraft, including the Boeing 777-300ERs and Airbus A380s that carry a large number of passengers. The move will ensure check-in officials have enough time to check in passengers before the security checks are carried out.

"This is a very crucial move for the world's biggest carrier of international passengers, as it will ensure that its passengers do not suffer from delays, especially those who have to meet a connecting flight," said an aviation analyst. "Missing connecting flights costs airlines as they have to provide onward connections on alternative carriers at a high price or arrange hotel accommodation and food. This will ensure Emirates' passengers are in time for their connecting flights."