19 avr. 10, 14:00

Emirates is preparing for a wave of flights into Europe with signs that the volcanic ash clouds that have plagued the region may be subsiding.

For the past five days, 20 percent of Emirates' fleet - or 30 aircraft - have remained on the ground with much of Europe's airspace closed for business. 

Central to the contingency plan is securing flights into the UK - subject to approval by the UK air traffic control authorities. 

The disruption has cost the airline somewhere in the region of $50 million. Emirates continues to provide hotel accommodation in Dubai for thousands of passengers who were in transit when the disruption began. 

To date, over 250 Emirates' flights have been cancelled and more than 80,000 passengers have been impacted by the ongoing disruption. 

As things stand, the airline is not accepting passengers for travel to any European destinations apart from Moscow, Athens, Larnaca, Malta, Istanbul, Nice and Rome, until the 21st April. 

Customers affected by the disruption can cancel their booking or change their onward destination without charge. Emirates has waived all re-issue and cancellation fees while the disruption is ongoing. 

All passengers are advised to check the status of their flight on before leaving for the airport. Passengers are asked not to go to the airport if their flight has been cancelled. 

Richard Vaughan, Emirates' Divisional Senior Vice President, Commercial Operations Worldwide, said: "We are ready to move quickly to add to the destinations throughout Europe and the Russian Federation that we can get to at the moment; Moscow, Athens, Larnaca, Malta and Istanbul, Nice and Rome. It all depends on whether we can secure approval for the plans we submit as the restrictions are lifted." 

Mr Vaughan added: "We know our passengers have been patient and we really appreciate that. There are many people who want to either go home or move on. As soon as it is safe and sensible to disperse those who are stranded, we will act. The safety of our passengers and crew remain of paramount importance, and in all of this, we must not lose sight of that."

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