Emirates in coordination with Dubai Health Authority (DHA), is introducing additional precautions to help prevent the spread of Covid-19 in its operations. The first implementation of the new measures was on 15 April, when passengers on a flight to Tunisia were all tested for the virus before departing from Dubai. Emirates is the first airline to conduct on-site rapid Covid-19 tests for passengers.
The blood test was conducted by the Dubai Health Authority (DHA) at the Group Check-in area of Dubai International Airport Terminal 3, and results were available within 10 minutes. This swift test could represent a key enabler for airlines looking to restart flights.
Adel Al Redha, CEO of Emirates stated, “The testing process has gone smoothly and we would like to take this opportunity to thank the Dubai Health Authority for their initiatives and innovative solutions. This would have not been possible without the support of Dubai Airport and other government authorities. We are working on plans to scale-up testing capabilities in the future and extend it to other flights, which will enable us to conduct on-site tests and provide immediate confirmation for Emirates passengers travelling to countries that require Covid-19 test certificates.”
The airline’s check-in and boarding formalities have also been adapted with social distancing in mind. Protective barriers have been installed at each check-in desk to provide additional safety measures to passengers and employees during any interaction. Gloves, masks and hand sanitisers have been made mandatory for all employees at the airport.
HE Humaid Al Qutami, director-general of the Dubai Health Authority (DHA) added, “To tackle Covid-19, we have been proactively working with various governmental organisations and the private health sector and we have implemented all necessary measures from public health protection to provision of high-quality health services in line with the latest international guidelines. We believe strongly that the most effective solutions require close partnerships with other public and private sector organisations.”
Passengers are also required to wear their own masks when at the airport and on board aircraft, and to follow social distancing guidelines. Emirates has modified its inflight services for health and safety reasons. For example, magazines and other printed reading material will not be available, and while food and beverages will continue to be offered on board, packaging and presentation will be modified to reduce contact during meal service and minimise interaction.
Cabin baggage is currently not accepted on Emirates flights. Carry-on items allowed in the cabin are limited to laptops, handbags, briefcases or baby items. All other items have to be checked in, and Emirates will add the cabin baggage allowance to customers’ check-in baggage allowance.
All Emirates aircraft will go through enhanced cleaning and disinfection processes in Dubai after each journey.