All Indian airlines operating to Dubai have cancelled their flights for today. This includes IndiGo, Spicejet, Jet Airways, Air India, and Air India Express. Jet Airways and Air India have just one of two flights to the Gulf city.
Dubai Airports authorities have curtailed operations to a single runway at DXB airport in the aftermath of the crash of Emirates flight EK521 yesterday. Priority is being given to the two home carriers Emirates airline, and FlyDubai. After that volume flights (number of passengers) of all airlines. If any capacity is left over, which it is not for now, narrow-body flights of foreign carriers will be accommodated. For now they have the option of diverting flights to Dubai World City airport or to the Emirate of Sharjah.
All Indian carriers operate narrow body Boeing 737 and Airbus A320 family aircraft to Dubai. Air India and Jet Airways have limited operations with wide-body aircraft like the Boeing 787 and 777. So while Emirates airline continues operate its flights between India and Dubai, almost all the flights of Indian carriers are grounded.
The second runway at Dubai international is expected to open later tonight but with limited operations. Hopefully that will ease the pressure a little. We will advise passengers to check with their respective airlines and re-confirm your flight operations.
The strategy though justifiable, shows the undemocratic bias of the Dubai government in its decision making, at least when it comes to aviation. Personally, I applaud the clarity of priorities of the Dubai establishment from highest echelons of government on down. Emirates airline and FlyDubai are the national airlines of Dubai and are, and will continue to be, the beneficiaries of clear favouritism.
May be the Indian government should learn a lesson or two, and remember it the next time it pushes aside Air India or any other Indian carrier, or bends over backwards in bi-lateral negotiations, to accommodate the demands of any foreign carrier.