Dubai International Airport will close one of its two runways for 45 days starting in May, temporarily reducing capacity at the world's busiest international hub for upgrade work, operator Dubai Airports said.
The northern runway will be shut for refurbishment and some of its passenger flights will be handled by Dubai's second hub, Al Maktoum International Airport (DWC), Paul Griffiths, chief executive of Dubai Airports, told The National on Tuesday.
DWC is scheduled to reopen its passenger terminal on May 4 for commercial flights for the first time since the Covid-19 pandemic began, Mr Griffiths said.
DXB is the base for long-haul airline Emirates and discount carrier flydubai.
In 2019, the hub closed its southern runway from April 16 to May 30 for resurfacing and replacement of ground lighting.
“It's quite likely that we will continue to operate capacity in the [DWC] passenger terminal building through the summer because I think demand will suggest that's appropriate,” Mr Griffiths said.
“The agreement when we closed it was that all the carriers that operated from DWC will relocate to DXB and the idea is that once it reopens, they will move back there [DWC] to allow carriers at DXB to grow,” he said.
DXB recorded a 12.7 per cent increase in annual passenger traffic last year to 29.1 million passengers, beating its own forecast and retain the title of the world's busiest international hub for the eighth consecutive year.
The operator is projecting the number of passengers by the end of 2022 to reach 55.1 million, as key markets reopen and more countries relax PCR-testing rules for vaccinated passengers, said Mr Griffiths, who has run state-owned Dubai Airports since 2007.
“I'm confident about the future and I'm very confident about Dubai's pre-eminent position as the world's largest international airport,” he said.
“I'm very positive about the outlook.”