Emirates Dips Into Cash Reserve for 500,000 Airfare Refunds

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(Bloomberg) --

Emirates is using cash reserves to refund customers as airlines around the world look for ways to handle rebates in the aftermath of grounded flights.

With about half-a-million requests pending, the Dubai-based carrier said it’s ramping up the capability to handle 150,000 refunds per month from 35,000 before the coronavirus outbreak. Emirates, which received assurances for government support last month,plans to clear the backlog by early August.

“We are dipping into our cash reserves by being proactive in processing refunds, but it is our duty and responsibility,” President Tim Clark said.

Carriers have resisted refunding passengers for canceled flights as they sought to preserve dwindling cash reserve. Airlines, including Emirates, have been steering customers to vouchers, prompting a flurry of complaints. The global airline industry is expected to burn through as much as $61 billion in the second quarter, according to the International Air Transport Association.

Emirates said Sunday it also offers customers two other options:

  • Keep existing ticket for up to 24 months
  • Exchange the unused portion of the tickets for a travel voucher equivalent to the amount paid for their original booking

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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