UK passengers hit by flight disruption due to flooding at Dubai airport

Thousands of UK travellers are struggling to get home after Dubai International Airport was flooded by an intense storm.

Emirates has cancelled seven flights between the United Arab Emirates (UAE) airport and the UK, with British Airways diverting or axing four.

The airport urged passengers to stay away “unless absolutely necessary” after it was hit by more than a year’s average rainfall in 24 hours.

Many flights were delayed by several hours on Tuesday, such as one operated by Emirates which landed at Heathrow more than five hours behind schedule at 9.30pm.

Paul Lidwith, 40, a solicitor from St Helens, Merseyside, said he was stranded for seven hours “without a single update”.

He was travelling with Emirates from New Zealand to Manchester via Sydney and Dubai, but his flight to Dubai International Airport was diverted to Al Maktoum International Airport, located an hour away in the city.

He said he has not been given any food or water, and claimed staff at Emirates had not provided information about his flight to Manchester.

He told the PA news agency: “This airport is for cargo planes and it deals with about maybe half a dozen flights a day.

“They couldn’t handle the flights that were diverted from Dubai International.

“We had to wait on the tarmac for nearly five hours.

Dubai flooding
Vehicles sit abandoned in floodwater covering a major road in Dubai following torrential rain (Jon Gambrell/AP)

“It took our total journey time from leaving Sydney to getting off the plane here to 22 hours.

“It’s just been an absolute disaster.

“We’re stuck here and seven hours without a single update is inexcusable.”

Emirates announced it had suspended check-in for passengers departing from Dubai from 8am on Wednesday for the rest of the day “due to operational challenges caused by bad weather and road conditions”.

It said in a statement: “Passengers arriving in Dubai and already in transit will continue to be processed for their flights.

“Customers can expect delays to departures and arrivals, and are advised to check the latest flight schedules on

“We sincerely apologise for the inconvenience caused. Emirates is working hard to restore our scheduled operations, and our teams will provide all possible support to affected customers.”

British Airways said in a statement: “Airport restrictions caused by adverse weather mean that like other airlines, we’ve had to adjust our schedule to Dubai.

“We’re in contact with affected customers to provide them with support, including refund and rebooking options.”

Dubai International Airport – which is the world’s second busiest airport – was deluged from Monday night into Tuesday as the UAE saw the most rain it has recorded in data going back to 1949.

A woman takes a selfie in floodwater in Dubai
Dubai has experienced severe flooding after unprecedented rainfall (Jon Gambrell/AP)

The airport issued a statement on Wednesday which said: “We advise you not to come to the airport, unless absolutely necessary.

“Flights continue to be delayed and diverted. Please check your flight status directly with your airline.

“We are working hard to recover operations as quickly as possible in very challenging conditions.”

More than 142mm (5.6 inches) of rain soaked Dubai over 24 hours.

The average annual amount at the airport is 94.7mm (3.7 inches).