Dubai runway to close for 80 days in 2014

17 May 2013 by Alex McWhirter

Readers planning to travel to or through Dubai next year may wish to avoid travelling between May and July. 

That is because the airport confirmed that runway engineering work will be taking place.

During this period it means that flights may be cancelled, delayed or rescheduled.

Dubai Airport

In a letter addressed to its users, the airport’s CEO Paul Griffiths said airlines must be prepared to cut back their flight operations by as much as 50 per cent. That is because one runway at a time will have to close.

He wrote: “The Southern runway will close on May 1 and reopen on May 31, while the Northern runway will cease operation on May 31 and will remain closed until July 20.”

“During this period,” added Griffiths, “our airline customers will be required to reduce their operations at Dubai due to the significant capacity reductions resulting from single runway operation.”

Dubai has given the airlines until the end of this month to put forward their proposals for scaling back their operations.

Doubtless there will be much bickering among the carriers and it will be some time before the new timetables are drawn up

As one of the world’s leading aviation hubs, Dubai can be busy at the best of times. But the period from May to July is an especially popular time because of locals heading for holidays abroad (to escape the summer heat) and expats flying home for their annual vacations.

In addition, there are countless numbers of passengers who are changing planes in Dubai when routing between Europe, Asia and Australasia, between India, Europe and North America, between mainland China, Africa and Europe and between SE Asia, Europe and Africa.

And not forgetting the new Emirates/Qantas joint venture which capitalises on the fact that Dubai is the “new gateway” for Antipodeans to access Europe.

How easily will passengers’ connections work given that today’s highly organised schedules will have to be revised?

Dubai is one of the world’s leading aviation hubs. Never before has it had to face disruption on this scale. It will be interesting to see how the airlines and, in particular home carrier Emirates, manage to cope.

So far, the airlines using Dubai have yet to comment. It means, therefore, that current flight schedules posted for 2014 do not yet reflect the changes that will be made.

Business Traveller will keep our readers updated on developments as and when available.

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Report by Alex McWhirter

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