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Some 500 airline passengers scheduled to fly out on two Etihad Airways flights are currently stuck in Phuket because of a massive sandstorm that has also caused fog in Abu Dhabi, their destination.
The storm has closed Abu Dhabi Airport for two days, with the result that flights that were due to arrive in Phuket on Saturday and Sunday to take passengers back to Abu Dhabi were unable to fly.
Etihad has cancelled a total of 20 flights out of Abu Dhabi because of the sandstorm and fog, the local news site, The National, reported yesterday.
Santi Pawai, Director of the Ministry of Tourism and Sports, Phuket office told The Phuket News that Etihad Airways flight EY430, both yesterday and today (January 5), was grounded, leaving two plane-loads of people stuck in Phuket.
Passengers are being put up in local hotels until the airline is able to fly them out.
In Abu Dhabi would-be fliers have been asked to postpone any non-essential flights until the backlog of stranded passengers has been cleared.
The following video is an example of a sand storm