By Andy Sambidge
Dubai airline says it will be forced to reduce flights to 41 destinations during 80-day upgrade project
Emirates Airline said on Thursday it will be forced to reduce flights to 41 destinations during the 80-day period of runway upgrading works at Dubai International, which start on May 1.
The Dubai-based airline said in a statement that its revenues will be hit to the tune of AED1 billion ($272 million) as it grounds 20 aircraft in May, 22 in June, and 22 in July, as Dubai Airports launches the upgrade project which will see both runways at Dubai International close alternatively for resurfacing and other enhancement works.
However, Emirates, which also said it will have to change timings on some of its flights, reassured customers that it was still "business as usual".
Tim Clark, president of the airline, said: “Customers who have booked to fly with us, or are considering to fly with us during this time, can be assured that it is business as usual.
"On routes where Emirates has had to reduce frequency, we have upgraded to bigger aircraft where possible to recover part of the capacity. We have done a lot of preparation work behind the scenes together with all airport stakeholders, to ensure that there will be as little inconvenience to our customers as possible, and we look forward to resuming our full schedule of flights in July."
He added: “As the biggest operator at Dubai International accounting for about 50 percent of traffic, of course we have had to take the biggest hit in reducing flights. There will be an impact on our revenues to the tune of approximately AED1 billion.
"However, we understand the need for this upgrading work to be done, and we support it wholeheartedly. It will add much-needed capacity to the airport, and having world-class infrastructure ultimately means a better experience for customers. So we have to take the long-term view and manage the short term pain.”
Emirates said it has plans for its own upgrading projects, taking advantage of its “grounded fleet” to perform engineering maintenance and onboard enhancements, ensuring its fleet operates at top form.
All Emirates passenger flights will continue to operate from Dubai International Airport during the runway upgrading period from May 1 – July 20, while its freighter operations will move to Al Maktoum International at Dubai World Central on May 1 as planned.