Dubai World Central, DWC, will see the number of passenger flights skyrocket by 700% as it takes on additional traffic during the 45-day period when DXB’s southern runway is closed for a complete refurbishment from 16th April to 30th May, 2019.
The closure will reduce the hub airport’s capacity making DWC an attractive alternate to absorb affected scheduled, charter, cargo and general aviation operations.
Although DXB will effectively be without 50% of its runways, the actual reduction in passenger flights will only be 32% thanks to an optimised schedule that will see the northern runway used to 96% of its capacity. Due to the deployment of larger aircraft by some airlines during the closure period, the number of seats will only decrease by 26%. Finally, thanks to the additional capacity provided by DWC, the number of flights across the Dubai Airport system will see a reduction of just 10% and a seat reduction of just 11%.
The schedule has been almost a year in the making as Dubai Airports engaged all airlines in April last year to adjust their schedules versus the six-month period typically required by IATA/ICAO. An independent slot coordinator was appointed to oversee this process and rules were applied equally to all passenger airlines.
The timing of the closure further minimises impact as the Holy Month of Ramadan is typically the quietest period at DXB in terms of traffic.
"We’re pleased that we have managed to maintain as much choice as possible for customers," said Paul Griffiths, CEO, Dubai Airports. "The most significant change for passengers during the period will be the need to confirm the airport that they travelling to or from. That said, we’re confident customers and airlines will be impressed by the speed, efficiency and convenience of Dubai’s second airport. It’s a great opportunity to showcase DWC’s newly expanded facilities that can now accommodate up to 26.5 million passengers annually and we’re confident that it will shine."
During the 45-day period, DWC will see an average of 158 passenger flight movements per day operated by two charter carriers and 16 scheduled airlines.
Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority will provide a fully integrated ground transportation solution for DWC with a regular bus service from key locations in Dubai and a dedicated fleet of taxis serving the airport. Dubai Airports will also have an express bus service operating between DXB and DWC every 30 minutes departing from DXB Terminals 1, 2 and 3. Customers will also be able to take advantage of the free shaded parking at DWC’s 2,500 capacity car park.
As the site of numerous large-scale engineering programmes, including the upgrade of the northern runway in 2014, DXB’s operational, construction and engineering teams are well versed in handling the challenges presented by massive, complex undertakings such as the upcoming refurbishment programme.
At peak times, more than 90 construction vehicles per hour will enter and exit the airport, adding additional traffic to the roads around DXB. More than 18,500 truckloads of concrete, asphalt, materials and personnel will need to be transported to and from the airport for the duration of the runway refurbishment programme. More than 1,900 employees will be involved in the project.
To reduce the already minimal risk of construction overrun, Dubai Airports has started a number of works in advance of the full runway closure. Dubai Airports has also identified work packages that are not critical to the completion and safe recommissioning of the new runways and which can be completed once the runway has returned to normal operation.
This will provide a safety buffer should there be any unexpected delays, allowing non-essential work to be completed after the 45 days.
Passengers are advised to confirm their airport of departure and arrival via their airline’s schedule. Additionally, while Dubai Airports will provide updates on any impact on road traffic around the airport due to construction vehicular activity, passengers are advised to leave for the airport a little earlier to ensure that they arrive on time.