Dubai flights cancelled and diverted as heavy rainfall sweeps through UAE

Extreme weather conditions in the United Arab Emirates have disrupted air travel

Chris Wilson
Wednesday 17 April 2024 08:59 BST
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Flooding rain slams the Gulf Coast

Flights in and out of Dubai are being affected by adverse weather conditions around the UAE, leading to delays, diversions and cancellations across 16 April and 17 April.

Thunder, lightning, hail and heavy rainfall have hit Dubai, with schools and government entities instructed to work from home. Citizens have been urged to stay inside where possible and only leave their homes “in cases of extreme necessity”.

The website for Dubai Aiport – one of the world’s busiest airports, which welcomed over 86 million passengers in 2023 – is currently showing that there are at least 20 cancelled flights on 16 April, with dozens more delayed. Affected destinations included cities around India and Pakistan, as well as Saudi Arabia and Manchester.

In addition to Dubai, the surrounding emirates of Fujairah, Ras Al Khaimah and Al Ain were all put on alert. Adverse weather hit locations including Abu Dhabi on Monday 15 April. There were additional reports of flooded highways, while in neighbouring Oman, 18 people have been killed due to heavy rains in recent days.

Photos showed a deluge of rainwater on roads around Dubai, with cars struggling to drive through flood highways.

Cars drive through a flooded street
Cars drive through a flooded street (REUTERS)

Airlines including Emirates are urging passengers to arrive at the airport up to four hours before their scheduled flight time, while a tweet from Dubai’s Road and Transport Authority read: “If you’re travelling from #DXB today, be sure to allow extra time to get to the airport and use the Dubai Metro, where possible. The metro operating hours have now been extended till 3AM tonight.”

Passengers on flights scheduled to leave Dubai are advised to use the flydubai website to track their flight status.

A spokesperson for Dubai Airport told The Independent: “Dubai Airports can confirm that operations continue to be significantly disrupted at Dubai International (DXB) due to heavy rain and flooding on Tuesday, 16 April.  Due to the intense storm, operations were temporarily suspended for 25 minutes this afternoon, but have since recommenced, and are now in recovery mode.

“A total of 21 outbound and 24 inbound flights have been cancelled since 00:02hrs LT this morning, and 3 flights were diverted to other neighbouring airports.

“We urge guests to check directly with their airline to obtain the latest information on the status of their flight, allow significant extra travel time to the airport, and use Dubai Metro for smoother transit, which has extended operating hours until 03:00 hrs LT tonight.”

Advice from the National Emergency Crisis and Disaster Management Authority includes recommending “preventive measures for heavy rain and hailstorms to minimise impacts on properties” and “parking vehicles in distant, safe and elevated locations”.

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