Muscat: Domestic airline Oman Air is still being forced to delay and cancel flights to Dubai in the aftermath of the horrific crash landing and fireball that claimed the life of a firefighter.
Flights scheduled for Friday were cancelled by the government-owned airline as international carriers were still accessing routes via the Oman airspace to clear backlogs at the world’s third busiest airport.
An Emirates flight crash landed on Wednesday and burst into flames moments after 300 terrified passengers and crew had fled the plane via emergency slides.
Flights to and from Dubai have either been delayed or cancelled by Oman Air due to the temporary halt in operations at the Dubai International Airport.
Oman Air flight WY606, scheduled to arrive in Muscat from Dubai, endured a 7 hours 35 minute flight delay due to the closure of the runway before finally arriving in the Sultanate. Flight WY623 was also delayed by 1 hour 32 minutes while leaving for Dubai.
Flight WY617 was supposed to leave on schedule from Salalah for Dubai, but a 1 hour 49 minute delay left passengers waiting near the boarding gate.
Oman Air flights WY611 and WY613 both faced 1 hour 49 minutes and 1 hour 43 minutes delays, respectively, in leaving for Dubai.
Flights WY612 and WY614 faced 1 hour 53 minutes and 2 hours 17 minutes delays, respectively, in taking off for Muscat, and were both return flights.
On Friday, Oman Air cancelled four of its flights; WY618 and WY617 scheduled for Salalah-Dubai-Salalah and WY613 and WY614 scheduled for Muscat-Dubai-Salalah.
“Oman Air flights to and from Dubai are cancelled due to [the accident]. We are waiting for advice from Dubai airport authorities to resume flights,” said Oman Air.
Oman Air on Thursday announced it they will only fly one flight to Dubai from the August 5 to 8. Yesterday, travellers hoping to fly to the Emirates for business and pleasure encountered the same scenario. Emirates Air has advised all passengers due to fly in the next two days to contact the airline’s helpdesk. Those not due for immediate travel with the airline have been asked not to call, so that the lines can remain free for the urgent callers.
Dubai airport has announced in a statement that 242 flights have been cancelled and 64 diverted since Wednesday's crash landing.
Early reports suggest the pilots may have been attempting to abort the landing. An airport spokesman added there was minimal damage to the runway.
Talking exclusively to Times of Oman, survivor Shaji Kochukutty, a medical consultant in Dubai, said that Dubai Airport’s rescue team’s prompt actions saved them all. The two minutes after disembarking were crucial, he said.
“After disembarking from the aircraft through the exit, we heard the first explosion, and then we heard the second and third. By then the aircraft was fully on fire,”
“My girls, 15, 11 and 8, are safe. My wife has suffered a minor strain on her leg. We have reached home safely,” he said.
“If the blast had happened while we were inside, what would have happened? Additionally, we were also taken to a safe distance by the rescue team. A big thumbs-up for them. Dubai Airport’s rescue team’s promptness saved us all,” Shaji added.