Dubai International Airport will close one of its two runways for 45 days next year for upgrade work, temporarily reducing capacity at the world’s busiest airport for international travellers, its operator said on Monday.
The southern runway will be closed from April 16 to May 30, 2019 for resurfacing and replacement of ground lighting and other infrastructure, Dubai Airports said.
Dubai International, which handled 88.2 million passengers in 2017, is the base for major Middle East airline Emirates and discount carrier flydubai, and an engine for Dubai’s economy, which relies heavily on tourism and travel.
Capacity will be significantly reduced by the temporary runway closure and airlines will have to scale back their operations during the 45 days, Dubai Airports said.
But it added that airlines would be able to use Dubai’s second airport, Dubai World Central, located about 60km away. That airport is being expanded and plans call for it to eventually be even bigger than Dubai International.
Dubai airport's northern runway underwent a similar programme in 2014 and as was the case then, it was available alternative to absorb affected scheduled flights as well as charter, cargo and general aviation operations.
Dubai International operated with one runway for 80 days in 2014 because of upgrade and repair work on both its runways. That closure cost the Emirates Group an estimated $467 million in lost revenue, according to its financial statements.
The airport has projected a 2.4 per cent increase in passengers this year to 90.3 million.
World Central itself is currently undergoing the completion of an expansion programme that will boost its capacity from 5-7 million passengers per year to 26 million passengers per year.
Paul Griffiths, Dubai Airports CEO, said, "In the months ahead we will be working closely with Dubai Aviation Engineering Projects, airlines and other stakeholders to ensure we optimise service and capacity during this period next year and minimise the impact on our customers. While we regret any inconvenience this may cause to our airline customers and our passengers, these upgrades are absolutely necessary to heighten safety, boost capacity and pave the way for future growth."