DUBAI: Emirates said on Thursday (Apr 2) it will resume a limited number of outbound passenger flights from Apr 6, less than two weeks after the COVID-19 outbreak forced it to suspend some flights.

“Emirates has received approval from UAE authorities to restart flying a limited number of passenger flights,” its chairman, Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al-Maktoum, said on Twitter.

“From Apr 6, these flights will initially carry travellers outbound from UAE,” he said, adding that details would be announced soon.

Dubai-owned carrier Emirates, the largest in the Middle East with 271 wide-body aircraft, grounded passenger operations last week as the UAE halted all passenger flights to fight the spread of COVID-19.

The UAE has declared 814 COVID-19 cases along with eight deaths. It has imposed a sweeping crackdown, including the flight ban and closure of borders.

READ: Saudi Arabia restricts movement, other Gulf states limit entry as coronavirus spreads

Sheikh Ahmed said Emirates, which owns the world’s largest fleet of Airbus A-380 superjumbos with 113 in its ranks, was looking to gradually resume passenger services.

“Over the time, Emirates looks forward to the gradual resumption of passenger services in line with lifting of travel and operational restrictions, including assurance of health measures to safeguard our people and customers,” he said.

When Emirates suspended flights, it cut between 25 per cent and 50 per cent of the basic salary of its 100,000-strong staff for three months, saying it wanted to avert layoffs.

Dubai’s crown prince Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum said on Tuesday that Dubai will support the airline by injecting new capital.

Tourism, aviation, hotels and entertainment are key contributors to Dubai’s mostly non-oil economy.

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