A major runway refurbishment programme is set to reduce passenger flights into Dubai International Airport for an 80-day period next year.
The work on the airport – the world’s second-biggest in terms of international flights – will see all cargo, charter and private aircraft diverted to the new Al Maktoum International Airport, which is opening to commercial carriers on October 27.
In a statement, Dubai Airports said that Al Maktoum International “will be an available alternative” to take commercial flights that were affected by the disruption.
The airport said that one of the facility’s two runways was nearing the end of its design life, and that runway lighting and new taxiways were needed to enhance the other.
The southern runway will be out of action from May 1 to May 31, while the northern runway will be upgraded between May 31 and July 20.
“Safety and service are our two top priorities,” said Paul Griffiths, CEO of Dubai Airports. “While we regret any inconvenience caused to our airline customers and our passengers, these upgrades are necessary to heighten safety, boost capacity and quite literally pave the way for future expansion.”
The refurbishment is part of a planned $7.8bn upgrade to Dubai International Airport, which will allow the facility to cope with up to 90 million passengers a year.
The improvements include the construction of Concourse 3 and Concourse 4 (which will be completed in 2015) and expansions to Terminal 1 and Terminal 2.
Passenger traffic at the airport exceeded 5 million people for the fourth straight month in March, jumping 20.6 percent from a year earlier. Dubai International handled 5.85 million passengers in March compared to 4.85 million a year ago. Year-to-date traffic was up 15.6 percent to 16.49 million passengers.