Emirates airline and American authorities are still unsure what led to a number of passengers and crew members falling ill aboard a flight from Dubai to New York City last week, according to Emirates president Tim Clark.
The incident saw three passengers and seven crew members taken to local hospitals for further medical care and evaluation, with another nine undergoing medical screening near the aircraft and released.
Speaking to CNBC at the Aviation Festival in London, Clark said that Emirates and American authorities “did the right thing” by temporarily quarantining the aircraft in a hard area of the airport.
"We had to contact the authorities to say we had this particular incident going on," he said. "We're of course investigating the source of this, the cause of this, and we're not altogether sure what that is."
Clark added that Emirates is eliminating a number of possible causes for the incident, but said he expects the cause to be determined “within a week.”
“I don’t want to speculate on what that [the cause] is at the moment, but I will say that we’ve never had anything like this before in our 33-year history,” he said.
"It's important we understand where it came from, what the nature of the illness was, and take whatever remedial steps we have to in the future to deal or prevent this happening again."
The Emirates president also said he didn’t foresee customer perceptions of the airline to change.
“We pride ourselves on our health and safety,” he said. “I really think this is a one-off incident.”For all the latest transport news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.
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