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Runway closure curtails flights to Dubai
Shekhar Niyogi, Kolkata, April 30, 2014

INDIAN carriers, which fly 275 weekly flights to Dubai, will curtail their frequency by a third from May due to the closure of one of two runways at Dubai airport for nearly three months.


The carriers have either cancelled flights or re-routed them to Sharjah, which is located 30 minutes’ drive from Dubai.


Emirates will also cancel 21 out of 185 weekly flights to India.


Starting May 1, Dubai airport will close its southern runway for routine maintenance until the end of the month, while the northern runway will close until July 20 once the southern runway becomes operational.


Effectively, one runway will remain closed for about 80 days, reducing aircraft movements by 25 per cent. Last year, Dubai handled 369,953 aircraft movements.


The hub traffic, which forms the main business for Dubai airport, will be taken by its competitors in the region for the period of closure.


India is the second largest source market for visitor arrivals in Dubai, after the UK. In 2013, India accounted for 8.4 million arrivals, out of a total of 66.4 million, to Dubai airport.


Sejoe Jose, managing director, Kochi-based Marvel Tours said: “Summer is not a peak time for Indian travel to the UAE so even with reduction of flights, the negative impact on the number of visitors will not be significant.


“Moreover, uninterrupted flights to Sharjah and Abu Dhabi will also enable seamless transit to Dubai.”

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