28 July 2020
Emirates becomes first airline to cover customers' coronavirus-related expenses

Emirates becomes first airline to cover customers' coronavirus-related expenses

Ali Haider / EPA / TASS

Emirates has become the first airline to offer free coverage of coronavirus-related costs to all of its passengers as it attempts to boost passenger demand in the midst of a global pandemic.

An announcement made on the company's website last week said it would cover expenses related to COVID-19 to passengers who travel on its flights by October 31.

Emirates' offer is valid for 31 days from the start of a passenger's journey, becoming available immediately and running until the end of October.

The free coverage is available to all customers regardless of travel class or destination and is available automatically, with no need to register.

"Emirates is proud to lead the way in boosting confidence for international travel. We know people are yearning to fly as borders around the world gradually re-open, but they are seeking flexibility and assurances should something unforeseen happen during their travel," Emirates Group Chairman Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum said in a statement.

"It is an investment on our part, but we are putting our customers first, and we believe they will welcome this initiative," he added.

The Dubai-based carrier said it would cover medical expenses of up to €150,000 ($176,500), as well as up to €100 ($118) per day for quarantining in a hotel for up to two weeks.

In the event of a passenger's death from the virus, the airline vowed to cover the cost of repatriating the body and provide €1,500 ($1,750) towards the cost of the funeral.

Testing costs are not covered, and passengers must contact the airline to get expenses approved before paying them.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has warned that the drop in travel caused by COVID-19 will lead to airline losses of more than $84 billion this year, with revenues projected to fall by 50% compared to 2019.

Emirates said earlier this month that it plans to cut as many as 9,000 jobs because of the pandemic. The airline has seen demand fall 90%, Emirates president Tim Clark said in a recent interview with Business Insider, adding that the company managed to keep some revenue flowing by pivoting from passenger to cargo operations.