A major runway closure at Emirates’ Dubai International Airport hub will make operations a bit of a challenge from April 16th until the construction is projected to be completed by the end of May, but have no fear because the Gulf carrier has plans in place to “deliver a seamless experience for its customers departing and transiting through Dubai.”
Airline officials at Emirates are expressing confidence that the anticipated closure of the south runway at Dubai International Airport (DXB) will not substantially disrupt operations. That confidence is perhaps well founded; after all, the carrier has been planning for this contingency for more than a year.
In January, the Gulf carrier announced it would adjust its capacity in anticipation of the runway project at its base of operations. Airline officials seemed to be preparing for a worst-case scenario.
“Given the limitations around operating flights using a single runway at its hub, many Emirates flights will be cancelled, re-timed or have the operating aircraft changed in order to reduce impact on customers,” Emirates warned at the time. “This will result in up to 48 Emirates aircraft not being utilized, with a 25% reduction in the overall number of flights operated by the airline during the 45-day period.”
Now that the start of the project is upon us, Emirates has outlined additional measures to help keep the planes running on time. The carrier is asking passengers to arrive at the airport at least three hours early for most international flights. The airline has also increased the boarding window for many flights to give passengers ample time to board aircraft during the hectic period. Gates for U.S-bound flights will open up to two hours prior to departure. Additionally, passengers will be permitted to check in at the airport 24 hours before departure or online up to two days or as little as 90 minutes prior to departure.
The carrier has some experience with major construction at DXB. In 2014, a similar project closed the airport’s north runway for several weeks. The carrier said it has taken the lessons from five years ago and will apply them to every facet of operations as the new runway work gets underway.
“One of Emirates’ key objectives during this period will be to reduce instances of flight delays and disruptions in Dubai and across its destination network,” airline officials promised in an April 15th release. “The airline is also placing a substantial emphasis on communication to its customers through a number of channels, to keep them accurately informed of their flight’s status. Taking into consideration the latest flight schedules as well as benchmarking best practices from the Northern Runway closure project in 2014, operational initiatives during the Southern Runway closure period include: procedures for efficient, quick aircraft turnarounds, reducing vehicle movements on the ramp, efficient movement of cabin and flight deck crews to the aircraft, faster transit passenger flow procedures, predictive aircraft maintenance and prioritizing operationally restricted flights.”
Emirates says that the construction project was planned for “one of the quieter operational times of the year.” Officials noted that the temporary hassles will be worth it in the long run as the re-engineered runway will dramatically increase capacity at the airport ahead of the upcoming Expo 2020 Dubai.
[Image Source: Emirates]