UAE-based carrier Etihad Airways is extending its free COVID-19 insurance for nearly a year as it continues to expand its network worldwide.
The long-haul operator is one of the airlines in the Gulf that are pioneering a travel insurance that provides free medical cover to all customers.
It first announced in September last year that it would provide insurance cover to all its customers until December 31, 2020, as an incentive for people to travel during the pandemic.
Airlines have been haemorrhaging cash since the onset of the outbreak last year as customers put off travel plans for fear of contracting the virus. To entice customers to return to the skies, other carriers have also offered free COVID-19 insurance cover.
In a statement on Sunday, the airline said the insurance is now valid until September 30, 2021.
“The airline wants to instil confidence to travel and hopes this additional cover will reassure guests Etihad is doing everything it can to keep them safe and protected,” said Martin Drew, senior vice president for sales and cargo at Etihad.
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) warned last week that the airline business could worsen before it starts to improve, as many countries around the world have reinstated strict COVID-19 restrictions amid the discovery of new variants.
In January 2021, traffic in the Middle East plunged by 82.3 percent compared to January 2019.
Etihad’s insurance cover is automatically provided to all Etihad flyers, regardless what class customers have paid for.
Emirates also launched last year its COVID-19 insurance cover. The airline later enhanced its offering by providing multi-risk travel cover on top of its COVID-19 insurance.
Provided at no additional cost to travellers, the multi-risk insurance will ensure customers who get infected by the virus while travelling can avail themselves of overseas emergency medical expenses and medical evacuation worth up to $500,000, trip cancellation up to $7,500 and a daily quarantine allowance of $150 for up to 14 days, among others.
(Writing by Cleofe Maceda; editing by Seban Scaria)
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© ZAWYA 2021