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Wednesday, April 7, 2010 as of 11:14 AM ET



Dubai Travel Hit by the Ash Cloud

April 17, 2010 - 10:25 AM | by: Greg Palkot

DUBAI,UAE  The effect of the volcanic ash cloud coming from Iceland and hovering over Europe is affecting air travel across the globe. Including here in the Mideast air hub of Dubai, home to the biggest airline in the region, Emirates Airlines. Over 40,000 Emirates passengers have been effected so far, and dozens of flights.

Among those hit, the Fox News team traveling from an assignment in Yemen hoping to connect to London this Saturday.   Not until at least Monday, is the latest word from the Emirates web site. 

And don’t even think of trying to do some strategic forward booking.  We tried, and an Emirates official told us it is blocking new reservations until May 5th! It will only look at re-booking passengers when the “no-fly” zone is lifted in Europe, and the threat to jet engines from the tiny volcanic particles is gone.

Other area airlines like Etihad, Gulf Air, and Qatar Air, all with a lot of traffic to and from the UK and Europe, are equally hard hit. 

Dubai International Airport was a scene of congestion and frustration.  Waits at immigration counters for transiting passengers now grounded lasted at least an hour (we can attest to!).  

It’s costing Emirates a million dollars a day just putting up thousands of stranded passengers.  And as of Saturday, the airline is not even helping out those caught out : They’re on their own  

Hotels in Dubai are at the point of bursting. The place we’re staying at, the Jumeirah Beach Sheraton, boasts 256 rooms and we’re told is 100 per cent “plus” booked out. And its not taking any forward bookings either.  

So, in the meantime, stranded travelers are making the best of it.  Enjoying clear blue Gulf skies…without a speck of ash in sight…for the time being!

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