Abu Dhabi-based airline Etihad said that it expected to operate a normal flight schedule from Tuesday, January 6 following major disruptions last week due to severe fog hampering visibility
The airline, which has its hub in Abu Dhabi International Airport, had to cancel a number of flights when the aiport suspended operations temporarily on January 3 due to visibility falling below safety limits.
Etihad has been working to clear the backlog and said that more than 95 per cent of passengers who were delayed by the fog will have departed by Tuesday.
The airline said that it is operating four additional relief flights, which will assist passengers whose travel plans have been disrupted.
More than 500 staff are also assisting passengers at the airport while it provided more than 2,000 hotel rooms for delayed passengers, Etihad said.
Following the disruption, the airline said it will be reviewing its policies on the length of time an aircraft can remain on ground, with passengers on board, while awaiting take-off.
Etihad’s announcement follows reports that the delayed EY 183, bound to San Francisco, was held on the tarmac for almost 12 hours with passengers onboard as it awaited permission to depart.
Passengers told reporters that they were asked to wait in the plane, as Abu Dhabi airport was too crowded with travellers from other stranded flights.
Acknowledging the delay, Etihad clarified that the wait was drawn out as the airline had to replace the ultra-long haul operating crew who had exceeded their flight time limitations.
“Etihad Airways apologises to its guests for any inconvenience caused as a result of this airport closure, for mandated safety reasons, and thanks them for their patience during these extremely challenging few days,” the airline said in the statement.