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Sun 14 Oct 2018 03:02 PM

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Indian carriers in talks to reschedule Dubai flights during runway closure

Indian airlines said the disruptions at DXB are expected to have maximum impact on their day time flights to and from Dubai

Indian carriers in talks to reschedule Dubai flights during runway closure
Air India, Air India Express, Jet Airways, IndiGo and SpiceJet operate multiple daily flights from several Indian cities to Dubai.

Low cost Indian carriers such as IndiGo and SpiceJet are toying with the idea of rescheduling flight timings and temporarily changing their operating terminals at Dubai as part of the possible alternative options to minimise the impact of the proposed closure of one of the main runways at the Dubai International airport (DXB) from April 16 next year, senior officials at the Indian carriers said.

Senior executives of SpiceJet, IndiGo and other Indian carriers, who operate dozens of daily flights from various Indian airports to Dubai, are currently in discussions with authorities at DXB on various measures that they could resort to minimise the impact on their operations during the partial closure at the Dubai main airport.

Officials at Indian airlines said the disruptions at DXB are expected to have maximum impact on their day time flights to and from Dubai.

The airlines will get the leeway to make necessary rescheduling changes to their flights to Dubai, as the timing of the proposed runway closure at DXB will coincide with the changeover to their summer schedules. Indian carriers switch over to their summer schedule from the last Sunday of March.  

The partial closure of DXB will be effective for 45 days beginning from April 16, 2019 in order to upgrade one of its main runways.

Airlines operating to and from DXB are expected to curtail their operations on a proportionate basis during this period.

Little impact

Indian national carrier Air India, however, said they do not see much of an impact on account of the runway closure at DXB as its flights operate to out of Terminal 1.

“Air India operates its flights from T1 in Dubai and we do not anticipate much impact on account of the runway closure at the Dubai international airport,” an Air India spokesman told Arabian Business.

Air India Express, the subsidiary of Air India, however, operates its flights to T2 at DXB.

SpiceJet officials said they are looking at alternative plans including rescheduling of some of its flights to Dubai to minimise the impact of the runway closure.

The airline is also discussing other alternative options with Dubai International Airport authorities so that the impact on account of the runway closure will be minimal.

“We are in touch with authorities at Dubai International Airport on this issue and our operational team will be working out some alternative plans based on mutual arrangement,” a SpiceJet spokesman told Arabian Business.

Lucrative route

Air India, Air India Express, Jet Airways, IndiGo and SpiceJet operate multiple daily flights from several Indian cities to Dubai.

Dubai is considered to be one of the more lucrative routes for Indian carriers.

“IndiGo is aware of the runway maintenance work in Dubai. We are working with the airport to minimise the impact of the runway closure on the travelling public,” an IndiGo spokesperson told Arabian Business, adding that “details (of the alternate plans) will be shared later”. 

Though the latter part of the runway closure period at DXB will coincide with the busy vacation travel period in India following closure of schools, the outbound travel tourism business from India is not expected to impact much as generally less number of Indian tourists travel to Dubai after March due to the hot weather condition there, travel industry source said.

Indian tourists generally travel to western, South Asian and Australian destinations during the summer vacation. Since the school vacation in Dubai will be starting from July, this will not impact the inbound rush by Indian expats there also, a senior executive at travel firm Cox and Kings said.

The flight disruptions to the Dubai sector will be coming at a time when Indian carriers are already reeling under the rising aviation fuel cost and debt servicing burden, causing serious financial stress at some of the airlines such as Jet Airways.

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