Dubai Airport runway closure: Everything travellers need to know

Dubai International Airport will be partially closed until May 30 for essential maintenance

FILE PHOTO: Emirates Airlines aircraft are seen at Dubai International Airport, United Arab Emirates May 10, 2016. REUTERS/Ashraf Mohammad/File Photo
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From 3pm on Tuesday, The southern runway at Dubai International Airport (DXB) will close for more than six weeks so that essential maintenance work can be completed. During this time, many flights that usually serve one of the world's busiest passenger airport will instead fly in and out of Dubai World Central Airport (DWC).

Fewer than 60 kilometres from Dubai International, the emirate's second airport has been handling commercial flights since 2013 and, when it is fully complete, is set to be the largest airport in the world, with the capacity to handle 160 million passengers per year. The next few weeks will be the airport’s busiest time since its opening, with traffic expected to increase by 700 per cent as Dubai World accommodates more than 150 flights per day.

While Emirates Airline will not move operations to Dubai World, many other airlines, including the city's low-cost carrier flydubai, will relocate some or all of their services to the Jebel Ali airport for the duration of the works.

Here is what you need to know if you are flying from Dubai during the maintenance period - April 16 to May 30.

Reconfirm your flight

Not all airlines or all destinations will relocate to Dubai World, so passengers should reconfirm departure and arrival airports and terminals with their airline ahead of the travel date. Changes are possible up to three hours ahead of departure times.

Flying from Dubai International Airport

Despite the airport set to operate with half of its usual runway space, months of planning by the authorities has been designed to minimise disruption to passengers. In order to keep things running smoothly, travellers are advised to arrive at the airport in plenty of time – which means at least three hours ahead of departure for all international flights.

Flying from Dubai World Central

Dubai World was expanded at the end of last year and is ready to handle larger passenger load with more baggage carousels, immigration counters, smart gates and check-in desks. Passengers are advised to arrive early to ensure enough time to clear immigration and security.

Free shaded parking is available for anyone flying out of Dubai World and an increased number of taxis will be assigned to the airport. The flag taxi fare has been reduced to Dh5 from Dh25 during the maintenance period.

Ride-hailing app Careem is also offering passengers a 25 per cent discount on fares to and from Dubai World on using the code FLYDWC.

Shuttling between the two airports

Passengers landing at Dubai International and flying out of Dubai World, or vice versa, will need to clear customs and immigration at the terminal at which they land. Transit visas will be available, which allow passengers an exemption on entry fees for 48 hours.

A free bus service between two airports will run every half hour, stopping at all three Dubai International terminals The journey time takes an average of an hour, but this can change depending on traffic conditions.

Flying with Emirates

Emirates Boeing 777-300ER photographed on August 17, 2015 from Wolfe Air Aviation's Lear 25B.

Emirates will not move any flights to Dubai World but will be flying reduced services on some routes, including Athens, Rome, Zagreb and Glasgow.

All passengers are encouraged to make use of Emirates’ online check-in services to reduce waiting times at airport check-in desks.

Gates open 90 minutes before departure for long-haul flights and during the maintenance period, Emirates will extend opening times at gates for short-haul flights to 75 minutes from 60 minutes, to provide customers with ample time to board flights.

All gates close 20 minutes before departure and no passengers will be allowed to board a flight after this time.

Flying with flydubai

Flydubai Boeing 737-800

Dubai's low-cost airline will operate across both airports during the closure, with 41 destinations moving to Dubai World. The complete list of affected routes is available on the airline's website.

Flights to and from Alexandria, Bahrain, Dammam, Jeddah, Katmandu, Kuwait and Muscat will be available from both airports, so passengers are advised to check tickets.

Flying with Air India

Few Air India flights will move to Dubai World during this time, but some will move to Sharjah International Airport. Routes moving to Sharjah include daily flights from Dubai to Mumbai, Chennai, Visakhapatnam, Hyderabad, Bengaluru and Goa. Air India Express flights from Mangalore, Delhi and Kochi will also fly into Sharjah International Airport. Passengers should reconfirm flight details with the airline ahead of travel.

Flying with other airlines

Many airlines will continue to fly to Dubai International but will have a reduced service during the maintenance period. For instance, Cathay Pacific will continue flights in and out of the main airport but with less frequency, dropping to 13 flights from 21 per week.

British Airways released a statement saying it would reduce flight numbers, but will operate Airbus A380 aircraft on some routes to minimise disruption to passengers.

Other airlines will see few or all flight operations moved to Dubai World. These include:

  • Wizz Air
  • Aeroflot
  • Condor
  • Air India
  • Air India Express
  • Indigo
  • SpiceJet
  • Gulf Air
  • Royal Jordanian
  • Himalaya Airlines
  • Ukraine International Airlines
  • Nepal Airlines
  • Kuwait Airways
  • Salam Air
  • Mahan Air
  • Flynas
  • Azur Air