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On its special repatriation flights, more than 12,532 passengers were returned to their homes

Dubai-based FlyDubai’s passenger operation will remain suspended until Thursday, June 4, 2020, the airline said in a statement on its website.

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It added that the decision was taken following an updated Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) issued by the UAE’s General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA).

The carrier will continue to operate repatriation flights and will focus on its cargo operations too.

The UAE suspended all regular passenger commercial flights from the country in March.

Since the suspension, FlyDubai said that it has enabled the movement of more than 1,651,929 kgs of perishables, medical supplies, express courier, and essential goods.

FlyDubai Cargo operated 276 flights, to 26 countries, utilizing six of the carrier’s Next-Generation Boeing 737-800 aircraft which had been allocated to operate as all-cargo flights.

‘Air cargo operations will continue to be our focus over the next few weeks. We have been working closely with our strategic partners enabling FlyDubai to transport cargo seamlessly to where it is needed the most while adhering to the safety standards set by the industry and the World Health Organization (WHO),’ said Hamad Obaidalla, chief commercial officer at FlyDubai.

In April, FlyDubai said that it operated 23 repatriation flights carrying more than 2,800 passengers from the UAE between March 19 and April 8, 2020, and said that more such flights were planned.

The airline obtained government approvals to operate 90 special repatriation flights over the last few weeks to countries including Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Croatia, Egypt, Georgia, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Myanmar, Pakistan, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Somaliland, Sudan, Thailand, and the United Kingdom.

On these repatriation flights, more than 12,532 passengers were returned to their homes, while additional cargo was also transported in the belly hold of these aircraft.

The airline said that while it continues to operate more cargo-only flights during this period, repatriation flights will be subject to government approvals and passengers should check directly with their embassies for more information as well as the airline’s website.

On May 6, FlyDubai was accepting bookings on its website to some of its most popular destinations including Muscat and Tbilisi from May 21 and to Salalah from the following day.

However, now return flight bookings from the UAE to several global destinations are available on its website starting from June 5.

The airline added in its statement that it has not canceled all flights in its schedule and the cancellations are being made in line with the published NOTAMs.

On April 9, Emirates announced that it would begin operating limited inbound passenger flights to carry travelers from select destinations to the UAE. Initially, these flights would operate from Frankfurt and London to help residents return to the country.

It came a day after Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Airways announced that it too would begin operating select inbound flights for UAE residents starting Saturday, May 9.

By Varun Godinho

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