India flights impacted as Dubai airport commences runway upgrade

Starting tomorrow, May 1, the world’s busiest international airport, Dubai international (DXB) will commence a comprehensive runway upgrade project which will last for 80 days. From tomorrow, till May 31, the southern will see upgrades of runway runway lighting and construction of additional taxiways and rapid exits. From May 31 till July 20, the northern runway which is nearing the end of its design life will be completely resurfaced.

The upgrade will reduce the airport’s runway capacity by half and flight capacity 26%. 6.2 million passengers passed through Dubai international in March 2014, and with 751,390 passengers, about 12% of total traffic, India is the top destination of the airport. Naturally flights between India and Dubai, regardless of airline, are significantly impacted. All passengers travelling to or through Dubai are strongly urged to please check for changes to their flights.

Many airlines, including Indian carriers, are moving operations out of Dubai international to Al Maktoum international airport at Dubai World Central (DWC) or to Sharjah airport. Malaysia Airlines, Pal Express, Yemenia Airlines, Equatorial Congo Airlines and Ural Airlines will shift operations to DWC on a temporary basis. Wizz Air, Gulf Air, Jazeera Airlines, Qatar Airways, Eastern Horizon Airlines and Eastern SkyJets have moved operations to DWC permanently.

National carrier Air India and Air India Express have indicated about 55% of flight will be shifted to Sharjah, but have not provided details. Jet Airways will shift some its flights to Sharjah till the runway upgrade is completed. The airline has announced its revised schedule

  • Jet Airways flight 9W 532 will depart Mangalore at 23:05 arrive Sharjah at 01:20. Flight 9W 531 will depart Sharjah at 02:20 arrive Mangalore at 07:35.
  • Flight 9W 548 will depart Delhi at 19:20 arrive into Sharjah at 21:35. Flight 9W 547 will depart Sharjah at 22:55 arrive Delhi at 03:55.
  • On Sundays, flight 9W 536 will depart Mumbai at 12:25 arrive Sharjah at 13:55. Flight 9W 535 will depart Sharjah at 15:20 arrive Mumbai at 20:05.
  • On Thursdays and Sundays, flight 9W 542 will depart Mumbai at 09:15 arrive Sharjah at 10:55hrs. Flight 9W 541 will depart Sharjah at 13:20 arrive Mumbai 18:05.
  • On Sundays, flight 9W 538 will depart Mumbai at 13:45 and arrive Dubai at 15:25.

Emirates airline, the national carrier of Dubai, which contributes over 50% of the total traffic at DXB airport, is reducing flights to 41 destinations and expecting to take a AED one billion (approx. $272 million) hit in revenues due to this closure. The carrier will ground 20 aircraft in May and 22 each in June and July to cope with the reduced flights and capacity at Dubai airport. The airline is moving all of its SkyCargo freighter operations to al Maktoum airport at DWC.

Emirates is the largest foreign carrier in India, and many of its Indian destinations will see reduced frequencies, but increased size of aircraft to retain capacity. At Bangalore the carrier is changing its thrice daily Airbus A330 service which seats 227 passengers in a three class, to a twice daily Boeing 777-300 which seats 364 passengers in the same three class configuration, a 60% increase in capacity per flight, but very similar on an overall basis (681 daily seats on the A330 vs. 728 seats on the B773). On high traffic days like Thursdays and Sundays, the airline is likely to upgrade the day flight to a Boeing 777-300ER which is good news for plane spotters, and anyone who is interested in the unique sound of the GE90-115B, one the largest commercial aircraft engines in the world.

About Devesh Agarwal

A electronics and automotive product management, marketing and branding expert, he was awarded a silver medal at the Lockheed Martin innovation competition 2010. He is ranked 6th on Mashable's list of aviation pros on Twitter and in addition to Bangalore Aviation, he has contributed to leading publications like Aviation Week, Conde Nast Traveller India, The Economic Times, and The Mint (a Wall Street Journal content partner). He remains a frequent flier and shares the good, the bad, and the ugly about the Indian aviation industry without fear or favour.

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One comment

  1. Most expats choose to travel home during this season from DXB, as this is the usual school summer break. Travel agents predict a 20% hike in fares , which may blow big holes on the purse. DXB-BLR…. fares are left to EK’s imagination!. I wish Indigo/Spicejet “encashes” the empty slots left by Kingfisher