The 45-day runway closure in 2019 at Dubai International Airport’s (DXB) of southern runway (12R-30L) will significantly disrupt operations for Emirates Airline and flydubai, Emirates president Tim Clark told ATW on the sidelines of this week’s IATA Aviation Day in Mauritius.

DXB handles more than 1,100 aircraft movements per day and the 45-day runway closure is estimated to cause a 43% reduction in capacity.

All carriers will be affected by this closure, but Clark said Emirates and flydubai “will take the biggest hit simply because it is our base, our hub.”

Emirates could be forced to ground about 40 out of 270 aircraft for the period.

Clark said the carriers are “working on [a plan where] we could perhaps use Dubai World Central Airport (DWC), which is ready to [accommodate] some of those flights. This is just a temporary measure to relieve the pressure on Dubai airport,” he said.

However, Clark said the runway closure—from the last week in April until the end of May or beginning in June 2019—coincides with Ramadan, where travel falls off considerably.

“It is also the lowest month for international air travel,” Clark said. “We have no other choice. It [runway maintenance] has to been done every 10 years.”

The necessary upgrade work includes strengthening and resurfacing the runway (one of two at the airport) and adjacent taxiways.

Kurt Hofmann,