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Fog delays dozens of flights to and from Dubai

DUBAI // Hundreds of travellers were stranded in Dubai on New Year’s Eve as dozens of flights were cancelled and others diverted because of fog.

At least 26 flights from Dubai International and Dubai World Central airports were cancelled, while 23 inbound flights were diverted because of the weather, which disrupted operations on Friday night and yesterday morning, a spokesman for Dubai Airports said.

The company’s website said last night that at least 103 flights from across the world had been delayed because of the weather.

“Dubai Airports is working with all other stakeholders at the airports to minimise inconvenience to our passengers and normalise operations,” the spokesman said.

Many travellers said the delays had affected their plans for the new year.

Pakistani Rabia Ali said she and her husband were waiting yesterday evening to take their flight to Dubai from Karachi, which had been delayed for 12 hours.

“Our flight Flydubai 332 was scheduled to fly from Karachi to Dubai at 4am, but now it has been delayed till 5pm and the management are still not sure whether it will take more time or not,” said Ms Ali.

The couple had planned to celebrate new year and attend the Coldplay concert in Abu Dhabi.

“It feels like we will miss the New Year’s fireworks,” said Ms Ali. “It’s annoying.”

Ruel Saxon Baker, from Portugal, was on an Air Arabia flight from Mumbai that was delayed more than four hours.

“Later, after an hour in the air above Sharjah, we landed in Fujairah and were asked to take a majority vote either to wait another three hours or take taxis back,” the 24-year-old business development coordinator said.

“We paid about Dh180 from the Fujairah airport to reach home.”

Another passenger, Pakistani Arif Khan, said his FlyDubai flight from Karachi remained in the air for at least an hour as the pilot could not land because of the dense fog.

“We flew at around 1.10am and at around 3.10am, the captain announced that we couldn’t land due to foggy weather and a busy runway. We had to wait for at least an hour,” said Mr Khan, 30, a marketing manager in Dubai. He said passengers became worried.

“The other options were to go to other airports, including in Qatar and Oman. Thankfully, the weather improved and we landed at about 4.20am.”

Early yesterday, the weather bureau had warned that foggy conditions over most areas of the country could cause visibility to drop to less than 100 metres.

Dubai Airports asked passengers to check flight statuses before leaving home by visiting dubaiairports.ae or with their airlines, particularly for flights in early hours. Abu Dhabi International Airport gave a similar recommendation.

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The National