Etihad apologises to stranded passengers after diversions

Airline says it is operating extra flights, has drafted in more staff to help clear passenger backlog

Etihad Airways has apologised to all passengers who were left stranded after a number of flights were forced to divert away from Abu Dhabi International Airport on Thursday.

Etihad said in a statement on Friday that it is operating extra flights to help clear the backlog of passengers affected by Thursday’s runway closure during dense fog at Abu Dhabi International Airport.

The airline added that it has also drafted hundreds of extra staff across its network to assist passengers whose travel plans were impacted due to the failure of the airport’s runway landing systems. About 6,600 passengers were affected in total.

Flights to destinations across the Middle East, Indian Sub-Continent and Western Europe have already departed as the flight schedule gradually returns to normal.

Passengers are advised to expect ongoing delays as a result of the large number of flights and passengers affected.

"Yesterday’s circumstances were beyond our control. We are doing everything we can to minimise the disruption and apologise to all passengers who continue to be affected," the airline said in the statement, adding that in Abu Dhabi it is providing accommodation for more than 1,000 guests who missed their onward connections.

It said more than 30 flights were diverted, with 14 of those landing at Al Ain Airport which serves as a technical diversion airport only and has limited customs clearance or immigration facilities.

"As a result, transit passengers or those without visas for the UAE were unable to disembark," Etihad said in the statement.

"The situation... was further compounded by the limited catering facilities at the airport. As a result, we were not able to provide the level of care and service we would normally hope to deliver," Etihad added.

"We are doing everything to rectify this unfortunate situation and assisting passengers to minimise the inconvenience resulting from the disruption to their flights. Passengers are being assisted with onward connections or hotel accommodation in the case of long connections."

Join the Discussion

Disclaimer:The view expressed here by our readers are not necessarily shared by Arabian Business, its employees, sponsors or its advertisers.

NOTE: Comments posted on may be printed in the magazine Arabian Business

Please post responsibly. Commenter Rules

Posted by: Ken

Why didn't they land at DWC. where the facilities are better than at Al Ain.

Posted by: Robert Mohamed

It is the local aircraft which need anti-fog electronic systems fitted and not the airport. All the BA flights landed on time; why, because they all carry anti-fog electronic systems? Simple investment at the outset which avoids chaos when dense fog descends.

Posted by: Non-Muslim

Did Abu Dhabi Airport Company (ADAC) apologize to its valued passengers of ANY airline/flight affected by the failure of the airport-owned and operated ILS?
On the part of Etihad, I do wonder who took the decision to divert flights to Al Ain anyhow, knowing about the limited passenger facilities there and, much more important, the resulting visa problems for many passengers who never intended to enter the UAE at AUH but only wanted to connect to another flight (it's called TWOV - Transit/Transfer WithOut Visa). Frankly speaking, this is bad planning and even worse decision making by EY.

Posted by: james last

Commend Etihad for being one of the few GCC companies to apologize.
It shows they really do care

All comments are subject to approval before appearing

Further reading

Features & Analysis
Saudi Arabia outsources airport operations

Saudi Arabia outsources airport operations

The signing last week of public-private partnerships to manage...

The cost of the US laptop ban

The cost of the US laptop ban

Aviation analysts and airline bosses are warning of significant...

Q&A: The laptop ban and what it means when flying from Dubai and Abu Dhabi

Q&A: The laptop ban and what it means when flying from Dubai and Abu Dhabi

Couldn't a laptop with a bomb inside still pose a danger within...

Most Discussed