Dubai International Airport’s northern runway to reopen on Monday

Flydubai and Emirates confirm that they will be resuming operations at Dubai International at midnight on July 21st.

Emirates Airlines cut back on more than 5,000 flights and grounded 22 aircraft during the duration the runway maintenance. Karim Sahib / AFP
Powered by automated translation

Dubai International’s northern runway will reopen on Monday, with flydubai and Emirates Airline set to restore full operations there after an 80-day hiatus.

During the maintenance period, Emirates cut back on more than 5,000 flights and grounded 22 aircraft, costing about Dh1 billion in lost revenues while some traffic on other airlines including flydubai was diverted to Dubai World Central – Al Maktoum Airport, which aims to become the world’s largest with an estimated capacity of 160 million passengers.

Both airlines confirmed that they would be resuming regular operations from Dubai International at midnight on Monday.

Dubai International first closed the southern runway for 20 days, before closing the northern runway for 60 days.

Regular wear and tear was given as the reason for the closure.

“Imagine every 70 seconds you’ve got 4 tonnes of aircraft landing on a strip of tarmac, non-stop,” said Paul Griffiths, the chief executive of Dubai Airports, in May. “Just like roads, runways need replacing from time to time.”

Mr Griffiths said that Dubai Airports had considered closing the runway piecemeal, but rejected this because the risk of overruns on individual projects was much larger overall.

“We decided to choose the time of the year before summer kicks off and to absolutely blitz the works,” he said.

Mr Griffiths said that the runway closure would account for a 26 per cent reduction in capacity at the airport. He insisted that this had been evenly distributed between airlines to minimise the impact to each.

“It has been organised with all the precision of a military operation,” he said.

Construction works included entirely resurfacing the runway, as well as installing 1,750 new manholes and 8.3km of drainage piping, Dubai Airports said.

Wizz Air, Gulf Air, Jazeera Airways and Qatar Airways will continue to fly from Dubai World Central.

The runways were closed on May 1.

“The opening of the northern runway and ramp up to a full schedule, when combined with the upcoming Eid holidays, will result in a significant surge in passenger numbers from July 21,” Dubai Airports said. “We have committed the resources and undertaken detailed planning to ensure that the transition to full two-runway operations together with the moving of flights from DWC to Dubai International is smoothly and successfully managed.”

Follow The National's Business section on Twitter