By Courtney Trenwith
Airline says flight schedule is now almost normal, although hundreds of bags still to be connected
The majority of Etihad Airways passengers stranded after a significant technological failure at Abu Dhabi International Airport on Thursday have now been accommodated on alternative flights, according to the airline.
At least 6,600 travellers globally have been affected by flight delays into and out of Abu Dhabi, with the majority of Etihad passengers due to connect to onward cities.
Etihad said the delays, which were most significant on Friday, were caused by the failure of runway landing systems at Abu Dhabi airport during dense fog on Thursday.
More than 30 flights were initially 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.
About 500 people had to be accommodated in hotels in Abu Dhabi as well as other international cities on Friday night after missing their connecting flights.
Some long haul flights are still be rescheduled to accommodate passengers but the airline said its flight schedule had “significantly improved”.
No flights were cancelled on Saturday and none are predicted for Sunday. However, a small number of delays could still occur as the schedule returns to normal.
Hundreds of bags also are still being reconnected with passengers after missing connecting flights.
Etihad said the priority had been to allow passengers to continue their journey as quickly as possible, even without their luggage, and bags would be returned to passengers within 36 hours.
The airline has apologised for the disruption, which it said was out of its control.