Dubai: Passengers wait at airport for over 12 hours as flights cancelled amid rains

DXB said in a statement that airport 'recovery will take some time' after there was flooding caused by rainwater on the runway


Waad Barakat

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Published: Wed 17 Apr 2024, 9:15 PM

Dubai International Airport (DXB) was flooded with rainwater on its runway after record-breaking rainfall in the UAE on Tuesday, leading to flight delays and cancellations. Passengers who hurried to the airport, concerned about road conditions, found themselves waiting for extended periods of time, some crossing the 12-hour mark.

Khaleej Times spoke to residents and visitors who are currently at the airport waiting areas, uncertain of their boarding times and concerned about the ongoing situation.

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Shriya Vadugu, a passenger bound for Mumbai, shared her experience. She arrived at the airport at 8.15am, Wednesday morning, to catch her 9.30am flight. Facing immense difficulty in finding transportation due to the unavailability of cabs and the closure of the metro. Eventually, she managed to get a taxi by paying a high fare of Dh500 and taking longer alternative routes.

However, just ten minutes before she entered the airport, she was informed that all flights had been suspended as flying was hazardous. Her flight had been rescheduled for 3.30am on Thursday. Shriya and her family took the decision to wait for their flight at the airport, hoping the the runway will begin operating again.

Many airlines were forced to cancel and reschedule flights on Tuesday and Wednesday, due to the unprecedented weather conditions. Dubai Airports said in a statement that airport “recovery will take some time” after flooding at the runway.

Yasmin Yasir, a visitor to Dubai, said that after struggling to find a taxi for three hours, a relative finally offered her a ride to the airport – which took her another three hours on the road. She left her hotel at 3.20am on Wednesday, and arrived at the airport at 6.40am, unaware of the situation. She assumed that she would miss her flight that had been scheduled to depart at 7am, only to be informed later that it has been delayed.

Yasmin had been at the airport for more than 12 hours, surrounded families and other passengers. This made the waiting period easier for her as she wasn't waiting by herself.

Although travellers' spirits were down by the delays, they still remained patient, offering help to each other. “People are frustrated by the wait, but it’s better than flying in bad, dangerous weather,” Yasmin shared.

“You can hear people saying they have been here for 24 hours, others 15 hours. I think my 12 hours of waiting was the least of all people,” shared Yasmin.

As the hours dragged on and the airport worked through these operational challenges, passengers kept an eye on updates. “Everyone was talking to each other, offering food and people trying to fill in the hours by having a bit of fun,” Yasmin added, while waiting to board her flight that has been delayed to 9pm.

The hardest thing for Yasmin was trying to get some rest at the overcrowded airport, filled with passengers. She couldn't find a place to sleep, even in the mosque.

While the recovery process at Dubai International Airport is expected to take some time, passengers have been urged to check directly with their airlines to get the latest information on their flights.

Ahmed Bader, a frequent business traveller, finds himself in a six-hour wait at the airport. He had an important meeting scheduled in London and had arrived at the airport well in advance at 12pm, expecting a smooth journey to his 3pm trip on Wednesday. Ahmed took the first step before by inquiring about his trip, then rescheduling his meeting just to be in safe side.

"I had checked the weather forecast before heading to the airport, but I never anticipated the extent of the disruptions caused by the storm," said Ahmed. Despite his fear of missing his meeting, Ahmed decided to make the most of his time. He took the opportunity to engage in conversations with fellow passengers, exchanging stories and experiences.

Ahmed also made use of the extra time to continue working, using the hours that he spends waiting for his flight that was also rescheduled to 9pm.


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