DUBAI-based Emirates airline will cover passenger medical costs associated with the corona virus (COVID-19) so that passengers are more confident to travel.

According to Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chief Executive of the Emirate Groups, said Emirates will cover passenger costs related to COVID-19 and quarantine costs when they travel with Emirates to and from the UAE and around the world, free of charge.

The Middle East airline was not operational at the end of March as part of a global effort to stem the spread of the corona virus. Two weeks later, Emirates resumed limited operations and planned to fly to 58 cities in mid-August, down from 150 cities before the COVID-19 crisis.

This was announced shortly after the United Arab Emirates, an alliance of seven emirates including Abu Dhabi and Dubai, required all incoming and transit passengers to be inspected starting on August 1.

“Emirates will be the first airline to cover COVID-19 medical costs for customers when they travel to from the UAE and around the world,” Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum said.

He added, this step was said to be able to increase consumer confidence in traveling, also reaffirming Emirates and Dubai’s position as leaders in the aviation industry. Passengers can claim medical costs of up to 150,000 euros and a 14-day quarantine fee of a maximum of 100 euros per day if they are diagnosed as infected.

“We know people have wanted to fly as the country’s borders are gradually opening, but they are looking for flexibility and certainty if something happens along the way. The policy will be valid until 30 October 2020,” Sheikh Ahmed noted.

Previously, Emirates president Tim Clark said it might take up to four years for operations to return to normal and the airline could lay off up to 15% of employees. Before the pandemic, Emirates employed around 60,000 employees, including 4,300 pilots and nearly 22,000 cabin crew. [antaranews/photo special]