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Dubai Airports prepares for gradual resumption of operations

Dubai Airports, which owns and manages Dubai International and Dubai World Central, is preparing for resuming operations once the coronavirus lockdowns are lifted. The airports operator said that it is working closely with its aviation and commercial partners for a “gradual remobilisation” once travel restrictions are no longer in place. However, Dubai Airports did not provide further details on how and when operations will restart. It is also offering assistance to affected businesses, including tenants and concessionaires, to mitigate the impact of the pandemic. The aviation industry is badly hit by the current crisis with various airlines losing billions in revenues due to travel restrictions and lockdowns.

Dozens of carriers around the world have grounded their fleets, while many others have ceased nearly all their airline services.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) said in its updated analysis that the pandemic will see airline passenger revenues drop by $314 billion this year, dropping by 55 percent compared to 2019.

Eugene Barry, executive vice president of commercial at Dubai Airports, said they want to ensure that they are in a position to restart operations and that its business and partners aren’t heavily impacted by the disruptions caused by the pandemic.

As part of their “business stabilisation framework,” Barry said they are waiving 100 percent of minimum guarantees or equivalent fees for businesses who have been forced to stop trading due to the suspension of airport operations.

For those that continue to operate partially, measures are in place to address the reduction in aviation activity, including rescheduling and other financial adjustments.

“Flexibility is more important now than ever,” he said. “Of paramount importance is that we protect and retain our aviation and business partnerships, which have been carefully built over a number of years, and ensure that our revenue and service drivers will be in a position to remobilize, in line with approvals from federal authorities,” Barry said in a statement.

On March 24, the UAE government suspended passenger flights at Dubai International and Dubai World Central. The suspension is in place until further notice.

Excluded from the ban are a few repatriation flights, as well as cargo operations, which have seen a surge of flights, averaging 110 weekly, due to heightened demand for food, pharmaceuticals and other essential goods.

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