With several flights expected to be affected by the upcoming closure of the Dubai International Airport's (DXB) southern runway, the authorities have put in place a host of arrangements to ensure a smooth travel for passengers.
Passengers will be shuttled free of cost between DXB and the Dubai World Central (DWC) through an express bus services during the closure period from April 16 to May 30.
Additionally, the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) will connect the DWC with key locations in Dubai through a regular bus service. The authority will also deploy a dedicated fleet of taxis for this purpose.
Dubai Airports has also tied up with ride hailing app Careem to offer 25 per cent discount to passengers travelling to and from DWC.
"The most significant change for passengers during the period will be the need to confirm the airport that they travelling to or from. That said, we're confident customers and airlines will be impressed by the speed, efficiency and convenience of Dubai's second airport," said Paul Griffiths, CEO, Dubai Airports.
The runway is being closed for a "complete refurbishment". "Although DXB will effectively be without 50 per cent of its runways, the actual reduction in passenger flights will only be 32 per cent, thanks to an optimised schedule that will see the northern runway used to 96 per cent of its capacity. Due to the deployment of larger aircraft by some airlines during the closure period, the number of seats will only decrease by 26 per cent," the Dubai Airports said. If the DWC's additional capacity is also included, the flight reduction will be just 10 per cent and seat reduction just 11 per cent.
The DWC will see the number of passenger flights skyrocketing by 700 per cent during the period.
Saj Ahmad, chief analyst at StrategicAero Research, said it's "fairly certain" that the six-week runway work will end up impacting several thousands of flights. But it's hard to "pin down an exact number given the fluidity of the works itself". "If it overruns, then that number increases and vice-versa," the London-based aviation analyst said.
"Given the relatively short duration of this work, some carriers may find it easier to revise their schedules as opposed to incurring costs to operate out of the DWC. But airlines at the DWC that have a presence already like flydubai can capitalise and mitigate against schedule changes and operate there and avoid the single runway operations at the DXB," he added.
Though global aviation rules generally require at least six months, the Dubai Airports said it had started preparations and discussions with the airlines much earlier to adjust their schedules. "An independent slot coordinator was appointed to oversee this process ... The timing of the closure further minimises impact as the holy month of Ramadan is typically the quietest period at DXB in terms of traffic," Dubai Airports said.
All you need to know about the upcoming runway closure
- Why is the runway being closed and when?
DXB's southern runway is being closed for a complete refurbishment from April 16 to May 30, 2019.
- Which flights will be affected?
The major carriers are likely to continue operating from both the airports while smaller airlines with lesser number of flights can fully shift to the DWC during this period. It is not immediately clear if any particular sector will be affected.
- How can passengers travel between DXB and DWC?
There is a free shuttle bus service between the two airports. Additionally, the Roads and Transport Authority will connect the DWC with key locations in Dubai through a regular bus service.
- When will the shuttle bus depart?
The free shuttle bus service will have a frequency of 30 minutes.
- What are the other alternative modes of transport?
The RTA will deploy a dedicated fleet of taxis. Additionally, Careem will offer a 25 per cent discount to passengers.
By Waheed Abbas
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