Runway work to clip Emirates' wings


By Matt O Sulivan

Emirates concedes disruptions to its worldwide network will be inevitable next year, due to urgent runway repairs at Dubai Airport, but has yet to determine the extent of the impact on routes to Australia.

About 2500 departures – or 31 services a day – will be cancelled at the world’s second-busiest international airport for 81 days next year while repairs are carried out on two runways. The cancellations represent about 14 per cent of flight departures from Dubai.

The airport is yet to finalise allocation of slots for scores of airlines during the outage but Emirates executive Barry Brown said it would inevitably lead to disruptions.

”We’re trying to manage whatever slots are being handed out to us. If we have to make cancellations on certain routes we will do that,” he said. ”There will be a bit of pain.”

Emirates has 84 services a week between Dubai and Australian cities, which makes it the third-biggest international operator after Qantas and Singapore Airlines.

Mr Brown refused to say what impact the work was likely to have on Emirates flights to Australia. However, the addition of more A380 superjumbos, which carry more passengers, to Emirates’ fleet would help reduce flight numbers in the three months.

Dubai has also become Qantas’ main hub for flights to Europe since its alliance with Emirates began in March. More info