Dubai : A planned 45-day closure of Dubai International Airport's southern runway next year will reduce capacity by up to 43 per cent and could see Emirates and flydubai operate some flights from Dubai World Central, according to reports.
Dubai Airports confirmed the closure, which will mean the world's busiest airport for international passenger traffic operates with a single runway, in February. Upgrade work is due to take place from April 16 to May 30, 2019.
A renowned aviation publication cited Emirates president Sir Tim Clark as saying Emirates and flydubai "will take the biggest hit" in terms of operations because they are the airport's core carriers.
Dubai International's capacity is expected to be reduced by 43 per cent during the period, according to the publication's estimates, from the 1,100 aircraft movements seen each day with both runways open.
A similar programme was undertaken on the airport's northern runway for an 80-day period in 2014.
Passenger Traffic declined 2.5 per cent during May 2014, the first month of the closure, and Emirates was forced to ground about 25 per cent of its fleet, losing US$467m in revenue, according to its financial statements.
Clark told the publication, Emirates and flydubai were "working on [a plan where] we could perhaps use Dubai World Central Airport (DWC), which is ready to [accommodate] some of those flights. This is just a temporary measure to relieve the pressure on Dubai airport". But he indicated the overall impact would be mitigated as the maintenance coincides with the holy month of Ramadan, when traffic traditionally slumps, and the slowest month for international air travel.
The resurfacing work will involve 60,000 tonnes of asphalt and 8,000 cubic metres of concrete to strengthen the runway and adjacent taxiways.
The airport will also install 800km of primary cables and replace more than 5,500 runway lights with more economical and environmentally friendly technology.