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Emirates snuck out some pretty dramatic news in a recent press release, with a seemingly innocuous title: “Emirates announces network updates for 2019”.
Along with a bunch of relatively minor changes to reflect peak demand in different parts of the world at different times of the year (not included below), was the following news – note the final paragraph in particular:
- Outlines impact of planned Dubai Airport Southern Runway closure
- Expects adjustments through the year in response to dynamic market conditions
Dubai, U.A.E., 12 January 2019 – Emirates has announced adjustments to its operational schedules in 2019 to minimise the impact of the closure of Dubai International Airport’s Southern Runway in April and May 2019, and to respond to global travel demand trends. The airline also outlined its fleet plans for the year.
Sir Tim Clark, President Emirates Airline, said: “At Emirates, we pride ourselves on being a customer-focused airline with a commercially-driven business model. We invest in a modern and efficient aircraft fleet so we can offer industry-leading comforts to our customers, and we are agile in deploying our aircraft to destinations where it best serves customer demand.
“The changes we are implementing to our network schedules in 2019 are in line with this approach, taking into consideration global market dynamics and operational limitations including the maintenance work on Dubai Airport’s Southern Runway. Through the year, we will continue to keep a close watch on global markets and will maintain our flexibility to optimise the usage of our aircraft assets.”
A significant number of scheduled Emirates flights will be impacted by the closure of Dubai International Airport’s Southern Runway for maintenance work between 16 April and 30 May 2019.
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. This will result in up to 48 Emirates aircraft not being utilised, with a 25% reduction in the overall number of flights operated by the airline during the 45-day period.
Yep, Emirates will be operating 25%(!) fewer flights than normal between 16th April and 30th May. As the press release states, many of the flights impacted were already scheduled, meaning a lot of people are going to find their flights have been cancelled, or at the very least will suffer time/date changes.
If you’ve booked to fly with Emirates over the relevant period (or indeed anytime soon after – I wouldn’t be surprised to see the work overrun), contact the airline as soon as you can to find out if your flight is likely to be one of those impacted. I would hope that Emirates will be flexible and proactive in arranging alternative options, but be prepared to argue your case.
Have you been affected? – what did Emirates do to help?