Flydubai will need to move 39 regular departures to Al Maktoum International Airport (DWC) while refurbishment work takes place at Dubai International Airport (DXB) in April and May next year. Flights to 10 destinations in Saudi Arabia, eight in India, five in Iran, four in Pakistan, and several to a number of other countries will be affected.
The airline said the flights would operate from DWC for the 45-day period from April 16 to May 30.
“As we saw in 2014, runway enhancement programs continue to support the long-term vision for aviation in the UAE,” said Flydubai CEO Ghaith Al Ghaith. “With Flydubai flights operating to select destinations from DWC, we aim to not only support this vision but also to provide our passengers with as much choice as possible to travel across our network with minimum disruption.”
Flights to 39 destinations from Flydubai’s network of 92 routes would operate from DWC during the runway enhancement project, including to Alexandria, Delhi, Istanbul, Jeddah, Kuwait, Mumbai, and Riyadh, the airline said. “Following the completion of the runway enhancement project on May 30, 2019, Flydubai will resume its flights to these 39 destinations from DXB,” it said.
A Flydubai official clarified to AIN that the 39 destinations included DWC, to which passengers on return trips will also fly.
The step represents a positive development for Dubai’s second airport given the weak movement of scheduled traffic at DWC of late. The airport has seen fewer than 10 departures or 10 arrivals per day at times during the past 12 months.
One of the problems facing Flydubai’s complete move to DWC, which earlier appeared at the center of the airline’s long-term strategy, remains the loss of connectivity with the Emirates network that would ensue.
Last year, Emirates and Flydubai launched a new phase of cooperation, as they established code-shares to 29 destinations and quickly expanded the arrangement to cover a total of around 100. Nothing has come to date of a once-proposed high-speed rail-link between the two airports.
In August, the airlines announced that members of Flydubai Open, the airline’s air-miles program, would be enrolled in Emirates’s Skywards loyalty plan.
On the eve of Dubai Airshow 2017, Dubai Airports CEO Paul Griffiths told AIN that the focus had shifted back to DXB, but that DWC would likely remain the long-term axis of aviation development in Dubai.
Boeing delivered Flydubai’s first 737 Max-8 in July 2017, making the Middle East carrier the first in the region to operate the aircraft. Flydubai’s fleet now consists of 62 Boeing 737s.