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Dubai airport 80-day runway closure details

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With the 80-day closure of two runways affecting flights at Dubai International Airport from May 1, passengers may have to revise travel schedules as several airlines shift operations to different UAE airports, or scale back capacity.

Dubai Airports has confirmed it has reduced the number of flights by 26 per cent to accommodate all flights on a single runway without disruption, with 17 airlines reserving slots for flights at the new Dubai World Central – Al Maktoum International Airport during the period.

While Emirates has stated the runway closure will affect 5,400 flights, flydubai will have a selected number of flights operating out of DWC.

Meanwhile, Indian carriers such as Jet Airways and Air India Express have shifted operations to Sharjah International to accommodate passengers over the peak summer period.

Travel check

If you are booked to travel during this period, Dubai Airports CEO Paul Griffiths has advised in a statement for passengers to ensure they are aware which airport they would need to travel to.

Griffiths stated: “We are urging passengers to double-check with their respective airlines to confirm their airport of departure or arrival.”

Passengers who are transferring between airports will have to clear immigration and collect baggage at the arrival airport and will need to check if they need a visa to enter the UAE.

To facilitate transfers between the two airports, shuttle buses to transport passengers between Dubai International and DWC have been made available.

Additionally, passengers and residents in the vicinity of the airport are warned of a possible extra commute due to construction-related road traffic which may increase travel times to and from Dubai International.

Airlines affected

Airlines which have applied for slots at DWC include flydubai, Malaysia Airlines, Royal Brunei Airlines, Yemenia Airlines, Equatorial Congo Airlines, among others.

All Emirates airline flights will continue to operate out of Dubai International, with contingency plans in place to accommodate flights at other UAE airports if needed.

Emirates will ground up to 22 aircraft in its scale back on operations during the closure; however, the airline has stated that passengers will not be affected as those flights were not made available for purchase.

Flydubai has stated on its website that during the scheduled runway maintenance and repair, it will continue to operate flights into and out of Terminal 2 at Dubai International, but selected flights will also operate into and out of DWC.

If you’ve already booked a flight, you can check your confirmation with the airline, while those looking to reschedule their flights, the airline states that standard rules for changing or cancelling a booking apply.

Low cost carrier, Air India Express has stated it will operate its flight services from Sharjah, starting May 1, due to the partial runway closure.

In a statement, the airline said: “With the partial runway closure at Dubai airport from May 1 to July 20, flights between Dubai and Pune, Amritsar, Lucknow, Trichy and Jaipur will operate to and from Sharjah.”

The airline has advised customers to check the website for detailed flight timings.

A Jet Airways spokesperson has also confirmed its flight operations will move to Sharjah.

In a statement, the spokesperson said: “In view of the runway closure at Dubai Airport, Jet Airways will operate some of its flights with a revised timing during this period to and from Sharjah.

“The airline, would further like to assure all its guests that there will be no cancellation of any of its listed flights, due to the temporary move of flight operations to Sharjah.”

Affected cities include New Delhi, Mumbai, Mangalore, among others.

Giving an example, the spokesperson stated: “Jet Airways flight 9W 536 will depart Mumbai at 12.25pm and arrive Sharjah at 1.55pm (LT) on Sundays.

“On the return leg, Jet Airways flight 9W 535 will depart Sharjah at 3.20pm and arrive into Mumbai at 8.05pm.”

Indian low cost carrier has announced, while it won’t shift operations, the number of flights will be reduced.

The airline stated: “IndiGo will be operating from the existing Dubai airport with some reduction of frequencies from Delhi and Mumbai.

“IndiGo currently operates 56 weekly flights from six Indian cities to Dubai, which will be reduced to 37 weekly flights from six Indian cities.”

Meanwhile, Far East carriers such as Malaysia Airlines will also operate temporarily from DWC.

During this period, the flight will operate as MH154, departing Kuala Lumpur at 3:15pm. The return MH155 will depart Dubai at 7:35pm.

Passengers react

Dubai-based passenger Akaash Varma, stated the closure wasn’t likely to affect his schedule “dramatically”.

He said: “I prefer to fly with Emirates when my work demands it and as per the updates we’ve been receiving from the airline, the changes that have been made are minimum at best.

“Yes, it will probably be inconvenient for some who prefer to fly largely based on flight timings, but an 80-day closure over the summer holidays is likely to affect us not more than twice.”

George Abdallah, who will be flying from DWC on his flydubai flight said: “I am quite excited about the prospect as it's a new airport for me and the fact that I live in Jumeirah Lake Towers and the commute is far lesser.”

Almira Alavi, a Sharjah-based resident, said: “My mother is flying in later this month, so I am a little worried about her arrival if her flight lands in another airport. Not because we won’t know where to pick her, but simply because she is a nervous flyer.”

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