Dubai International Airport (DXB) must close one of its two runways for 45 days starting May 9. In a statement, the airport operator said the northern runway would undergo a complete refurbishment which will be similar to a maintenance programme that was carried out on DXB’s northern runway in 2019.
The airport will have to move some flights to Dubai World Central airport (DWC) to the south of the emirate during the works which are expected to be completed by June 22.
Dubai’s homegrown low-cost carrier flydubai has already confirmed that it will move flights to 34 destinations from DXB to DWC during the periods of the works. Some of the affected routes include Addis Ababa, Bahrain, Delhi, Jeddah, Kuwait, Mumbai, Muscat and Riyadh.
Emirates has not yet confirmed whether it will have to move any flights to DWC or cut back its schedule during the works. In 2019, the airline did operate some flights from DWC and cut capacity on some routes including London.
Dubai International Airport (DXB) is the world’s busiest dual runway airport so there is little spare capacity when a runway has to be shut for maintenance. The airport does carry out regular repairs on a weekly basis but a project of this kind requires a complete closure.
The northern runway has not undergone this level of maintenance since 2014. The airport operator did not say why it didn’t carry out the project during the pandemic when travel demand was much reduced.
During the southern runway maintenance project, 60,000 tonnes of asphalt and 8,000 square metres of concrete were replaced, along with 5,500 runway lights, and 800 kilometres of electrical wiring.
The 2019 runway closure resulted in DXB recording its first-ever drop in annual passenger numbers. That passenger drop was, however, eclipsed by the pandemic.