Emirates Air faced “tough year” as virus looms over travel

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DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — The chairman of the Middle East’s largest airlines says its passenger levels plummeted by 70% last year due to the coronavirus pandemic. Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum said Monday that Dubai’s flagship carrier furloughed more than 25% of its staff during that time. Still, he expects passenger levels to climb back to nearly three-fourths of what they were before the COVID-19 outbreak by the end of 2021. Al Maktoum spoke to reporters at Dubai’s Arabian Travel Market. It was billed as the world’s first in-person travel event since the global outbreak. The event highlights Dubai’s open embrace of tourists amid the pandemic still roiling parts of the world.

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