As many as 1.4 million would-be travellers have had their fares refunded with more cash set to be returned by Emirates.
The AU$1.9 billion in refunds reflects around 90 per cent of the major airline’s refund backlog, after Covid-19 scuppered the vast majority of all international travellers’ plans for 2020.
"We understand that from our customers' standpoint, each pending refund request is one too many. We are committed to honouring refunds and are trying our utmost to clear the massive and unprecedented backlog that was caused by the pandemic,” Emirates Airline president Tim Clark.
“Most cases are straightforward, and these we will process quickly. But there are cases which will take a bit more time for our customer teams to manually review and complete. We are grateful to our customers for their patience and understanding.”
In a statement on Tuesday, Emirates said it’s also been working to boost its refund processing capacity and to facilitate refunds for those who booked through travel agents.
Emirates announcement comes as other travellers await refunds worth thousands of dollars.
Qantas in June was criticised for not telling customers of their right to refunds on flights cancelled due to Covid-19, after customers complained of receiving only travel credits.
“From our perspective, from the outset, Qantas did not communicate clearly with customers about their rights and in a large number of cases, simply omitted they were entitled to a refund,” Australian Competition and Consumer Commission chair Rod Sims said in a statement.
“In some cases, the ACCC considers Qantas’ emails may have encouraged these customers to cancel bookings themselves in order to receive a credit when many would have been eligible for a refund.”
Both Virgin Australian and Qantas are offering customers refunds for flights cancelled due to Covid-19, although processing times remain a challenge.
STA Travel customers have also been left in the lurch after the travel agency fell into administration in late August.
All 27 outlets across the country are closed as Deloitte undertakes an “urgent assessment” of the business’ status.
“We appreciate this will be a stressful time for all involved, and in particular customers and employees,” Deloitte joint voluntary administrator Jason Tracy said.
"We will be communicating with them as soon as possible as we assess and understand the situation, and options going forward."
Affected customers have been told to contact the relevant airlines.
Make your money work with Yahoo Finance’s daily newsletter. Sign up here and stay on top of the latest money, news and tech news.
Follow Yahoo Finance Australia on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.