Emirates to scrap 5,400 flights for runway upgrade

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The changes will not impact customers already booked to fly between May and July, as the flight schedules have been planned and implemented months ahead of time.

Emirates airline will reduce 5,400 flights, and change flight schedules to over 41 destinations during the 80-day period of runway upgrading works at Dubai International Airport starting May 1.

Mohammed HY Mattar, Divisional Senior Vice-President, Emirates Airport Services, has advised Emirates passengers to strictly adhere to check-in and flight boarding timings during this time period.

The changes will, however, not impact customers already booked to fly between May and July, as the flight schedules have been planned and implemented months ahead of time.

“Check-in counters will open three hours prior the flight take off and we request passengers to make sure they check-in as early as possible. Passengers must also reach the boarding gates 20 minutes before the flight take-off time,” said Mattar. He added that the airline would be less lenient on passengers who arrive late at the check-in counters. “Passengers who have checked-in online must drop their baggage and report for take-off an hour before take off,” added Mattar.

The upgrade work will last 80 days during which the runways will be closed alternatively — the southern runway from May 1 to May 31, and the northern runway from May 31 to July 20.

In case of emergencies or operational disruptions, Emirates flights flying into Dubai Airport will be routed to Al Maktoum International at Dubai World Central (DWC) and other UAE airports. “We are working closely with authorities at other UAE airports to ensure that there is a backup plan in case of emergencies.

However, we want to avoid diversions as much as we can and we would like to continue using the operational runway at Dubai Airport,” said Mattar.

Mattar stated that in case of flight diversion to neighbouring airports, passengers would be transported to Dubai Airport for visa, and other clearance procedures.

According to Dubai Airport authorities, the project involves the resurfacing of the entire 4,000-metre long northern runway, which is nearing the end of its design life, as well as upgrading the runway lighting and construction of additional taxiways and rapid exits on the southern runway. Emirates has a fleet of 217 aircraft and there are about 220 flights going to-and-from Dubai Airport everyday.

During the 80-day period, the airline will ground 20 aircraft in May, 22 in the month of June, and 22 aircraft in July for resurfacing, upgradation and other enhancement works.

“All Emirates ground staff will be working throughout the 80-day period and no staff will be taking days off. We are fully committed to make this transition as smooth as possible,” Mattar added.

“As the biggest operator at Dubai International accounting to about 50 per cent of traffic, there will be an impact on our revenues to the tune of about Dh1 billion,” said Tim Clark, President Emirates airline.

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