Passengers seen inside the special Emirates flight EK2021 on Saturday.
Gulf Today, Staff Reporter
Emirates’ one-of-a-kind flight EK2021 proudly made a journey across the different emirates on Saturday, to celebrate the UAE’s remarkable progress in vaccinating its citizens and residents from COVID-19 through a national vaccination programme that has administered close to 9 million vaccines doses to date.
All proceeds for EK2021 have been donated to the Emirates Airline Foundation, the airline’s non-profit charity organisation which supports projects around the world aimed at improving the quality of life for disadvantaged children around the world.
The special flight, which carried fully vaccinated crew and passengers onboard, was unprecedented in the industry in scale.
With close to 400 fully vaccinated customers onboard, the flight illustrates confidence and undiminished excitement for air travel.
EK2021 was also supported by fully vaccinated teams across the aviation eco-system, from onboard crew to ground staff, demonstrating the readiness of the UAE’s aviation eco-system to support the safe rebound of air travel.
Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman and Chief Executive, Emirates Airline & Group said: “The UAE’s rapid pace and progress in vaccinating our population is a testament of our leadership’s vision and commitment to safeguard our communities, and manage the pandemic by adopting the appropriate measures to protect both nationals and residents.
"Today’s flight is a showcase of the combined efforts and dedication of all stakeholders in supporting the vaccination programme, and the implementation of protocols in the past 12 months to ensure a safe travel journey, stimulate passenger traffic and set the groundwork for the ramp up of air travel in the near future. Emirates continues to support the national vaccination programme and we are pleased with the progress made within the group in vaccinating our employees.”
On the ground, passengers checked in using the latest biometric technologies for a seamless journey across multiple touchpoints.
Biometric touchpoints were recently expanded to include over 18 check-in desks and 15 boarding gates at the airport.
As a result, customers across all classes enjoyed seamless biometric entry to experience the First and Business Class lounge at DXB. All EK2021 passengers were provided rapid COVID-19 PCR tests, facilitated by Pure Health.
Pilots of the Emirates flight EK2021 flash victory sign during the flight.
Pure Health, the largest integrated healthcare solutions provider in the UAE, has facilitated the administration of up to 4 million PCR tests at Dubai Airports to date.
After passengers checked in, they received the green ‘Choose to Vaccinate’ pin and took photos to mark the special event.
All EK2021 customers who passed through immigration also received a bespoke ‘Choose to Vaccinate’ stamp on each boarding pass as an added keepsake.
As passengers disembarked, they were handed commemorative certificates for taking part in this initiative.
EK2021 was commanded by UAE National Captain Ahmed Al Obeidli, First Officer Ramon Wilde and flight deck crew were supported by Captain Ricky Garala.
Passengers will be required to apply social distancing guidelines during their journey and wear their own masks when at the airport and on board the aircraft. Travellers should arrive at Dubai International airport Terminal 3 for check-in, three hours before departure.
"Passengers on today's flight to Tunisia were all tested for COVID-19 (respiratory disease) before departing from Dubai," the airline said in a statement. "Emirates is the first airline to conduct on-site rapid COVID-19 tests for passengers."
Those who wish to travel to Johannesburg, Lagos, and Tunis must contact the respective embassy or consulate for these countries in the UAE. For all other flights, passengers can book directly on emirates website (select the "one-way" option when booking), or via their travel agent.
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