Emirates supports efforts to evacuate travellers stranded in Lebanon
Boosting efforts to evacuate travellers stranded in Lebanon, Dubai-based Emirates Airline will operate five flights to Damascus today (20th July). This follows a decision by the Syrian authorities to grant permission for the airline to operate extra flights between Dubai and Damascus to aid in the evacuation efforts.
Dubai-based Emirates Airline has been operating four flights a day between Dubai and Damascus in the past week, and has put more hands on deck by sending an extra team of staff to support increased operations in Syria.
Since 14th July, Emirates has carried over 5,000 passengers out of Damascus.
Ghaith al Ghaith, Emirates Executive Vice President Commercial Operations Worldwide, is currently in Damascus to monitor the situation and direct the airline's response operations, leading a team of more than 10 Dubai-based staff who have been flown to Damascus to provide added operational support to the Emirates team in Syria.
Mr. Al Ghaith said: "We would like to thank the Syrian authorities for granting us the permission to operate extra flights to Damascus during this difficult period. Emirates is committed to supporting the evacuation of people who wish to leave the area. Everyone is rallying to this effort, and our staff here are working round the clock to accommodate our passengers' requests, and facilitate smooth operations."
To assist travellers with their bookings and flights, Emirates' town office in Damascus has extended its opening hours from 5pm to 11pm, while its call centres in Dasmascus (+963-11445515/16/17)and Dubai (+9714-2144444), as well as its airport team in Damascus are being operated 24 hours. With the continued and indefinite closure of Beirut airport, Emirates has been operating four flights a day to Damascus - in addition to its scheduled daily service, the airline has redirected its twice-a-day Dubai-Beirut flights to Damascus, and another extra daily service to the Syrian capital.
Mr. Al Ghaith added: "We are very grateful to Damascus airport team and to the Syrian Civil Aviation, who have extended their full cooperation and every possible assistance. Without their support, we could not have operated this number of flights. We will continue to work closely with them to coordinate the timing of additional flights according airport schedules and the availability of aircraft."
The airline, together with the Syrian authorities, is looking at the possibility of continuing to operate five daily flights to Damascus during this period.
Under the instruction of its Chairman and Chief Executive Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al-Maktoum, Emirates has formed a task group comprising the heads of operational, commercial and services departments, to monitor the situation and extend evacuation assistance. This initiative is also in line with directives from HH Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE, and Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, UAE Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai.
© 2006 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)