Dubai-based Emirates Airline will lose Dhs1 billion in revenues due to runway upgrade work at the Dubai International Airport in 2014, but the amount will be recovered within the year, the carrier’s chairman has said.
Speaking on the sidelines of a news conference announcing the airline’s annual results, Emirates’ chairman Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al Maktoum stated that the reduction in operations during the 80-day programme would help the airline retrieve losses.
“I think we will try to save on our operations, since 25 per cent of our fleet will be on the ground,” he said. “We will be able to make up the amount [Dhs1 billion] over the year by receiving more aircraft and operating new routes,” he added.
Emirates announced earlier this year that it would reduce flights to 41 destinations during the 80-day airport runway upgrade programme, which began on May 1. The airline said it would ground 20 aircraft in May, 22 in June, and 22 in July.
Overall, Dubai International Airport has said that it will reduce 26 per cent of flights during the upgrade programme. However, eight airlines have announced plans to relocate to Dubai’s new Al Maktoum Airport in Dubai World Central during the period, including flydubai, PAL Express, Jet Airways, Royal Brunei Airlines, Yemenia Airlines, Equatorial Congo Airlines, Malaysia Airlines and Ural Airlines.
“We are trying to complete the [upgrade] work in the shortest period of time,” said Sheikh Ahmed.
“One of the [previous] options was to the close the runway for about 10 to 12 hours everyday for 12 months, but we felt that was too long and that’s why we chose this option.
“It [the upgrade] involves major work, and after this, we will not have to do anything for the next 20 years,” he added.
Emirates reported a 43 per cent jump in its annual net profit to reach Dhs3.3 billion for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2014, thanks to higher revenues and declining fuel costs. The airline, which has 374 aircraft on order, plans to begin services to five new destinations this year.