Dubai International Airport handled 86.4 million passengers in 2019, making it the world’s busiest airport for international travel yet again.
For the next two weeks – and possibly longer – it will see no commercial passengers at all.
The final flights departed the airport on Tuesday evening, with midnight marking the beginning of a 14-day flight ban into and out of the United Arab Emirates aimed at curbing the spread of the coronavirus.
Dubai’s other airport, Al Maktoum International Airport, has also closed.
The UAE has recorded 248 coronavirus cases so far, Arab News reports.
The country’s beaches, pools, park, gyms, restaurants and many sprawling malls are also being shuttered.
Its immigration authority has said it will not penalise those who overstay visas if they are trapped following the flight ban.
Dubai International, which marks its 60th anniversary this year, will continue to operate cargo flights.
It also says it will see some “emergency evacuation flights”, though there is little clarity for many passengers stranded in the UAE and other countries about how to get home.
The UAE flight ban was announced on Monday, sparking a scramble for the final tickets through the country’s hub airports.
Half of the passengers travelling through Dubai International each year use it as a transit stop.
And with other hubs such as Singapore Changi, Hong Kong International and Istanbul Airport also banning or severely restricting transit traffic, travellers far from home have found their options quickly drying up.
Abu Dhabi-based Etihad has also suspended all operations for 14 days, with its last flights departing even earlier on Tuesday.
The UK Foreign Office has said it will help to arrange rescue flights for people stuck overseas, and is in negotiations with the Singaporean government about using Changi as a stopover.
Anyone in an emergency should attempt to contact their nearest embassy.
In the UK, airports such as Heathrow are looking at how to remain open while putting staff on unpaid leave, closing shops and restaurants and shutting up public spaces.
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