Emirates anticipates returning to full network capacity by summer 2021, the Dubai airline’s Chief Operating Officer, Adel Al Redha, has told CNBC.

“I think we can easily say that by summer 2021, we will be serving 100 per cent of our network destinations – that means 143 destinations will be served by summer ’21,” he said in an interview with the news outlet.

The carrier is currently operating services to more than 50 per cent of its pre-pandemic routes, including 75 cities globally, with Hong Kong the latest addition as flights to the destination resumed yesterday (Sunday August 23).

Al Redha indicated that going forward, frequency of flights per day would depend on demand, as well as restrictions imposed by destinations, but in terms of the airline’s network planning, by summer ’21 we’ll be covering 143 destinations”.

He acknowledged the COVID-19 threat remained a very real concern, but noted a pick-up in demand, particularly since Dubai reopened its borders to tourists on July 7.

“I wouldn’t say the worst is behind us, but there’s definitely a positive trend. We have noticed the demand from passengers wanting to travel,” he said.

“If I compare our performance now with a month ago, we have almost doubled the number of passengers we are carrying on board our aircraft – either transiting or terminating in Dubai – and that is due to the different measures. One of them is obviously the relaxation of entry rules that Dubai has introduced in welcoming tourists; that did help us quite a lot.”

All passengers travelling to Dubai must have a negative Covid-19 PCR test certificate to be accepted on the flight. The certificate must be for a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) swab test taken a maximum of 96 hours before departure.

For more information on the requirements for travellers to Dubai, visit emirates.com.