Emirates Pushing A380s Helps Limit Runway-Repair Fallout

Dubai’s airport managed to minimize the fallout from a runway closing for repairs as Emirates deployed more Airbus A380 superjumbos to lift the number of passengers per flight even as aircraft movements declined.

Plane occupancy levels at Dubai International Airport grew 22 percent to a record 228 last month, while the number of movements fell by more than 8,000, or 27 percent, the airport said today. Passenger traffic dropped 2.5 percent to 5.09 million and will remain “flat or marginally decline” until repairs are completed on July 20, it said.

“Our early consultation with airlines, careful planning and slot management has allowed our airlines to accommodate almost the same number of passengers as last year by deploying larger aircraft,” Dubai Airports Chief Executive Officer Paul Griffiths said.

With the number of flights at Dubai International set to drop by a quarter during the 80-day repair period, the airport is relying on Emirates to boost usage of its unparalleled fleet of wide-body and superjumbo aircraft to prop up passenger numbers. Emirates has ordered 140 double-decker A380s, which typically seat about 525 people, and will soon have 50 in service. It also has the biggest fleet of Boeing Co. 777s.

Emirates is reducing flights to 41 destinations during the refurbishment, slicing an estimated one billion dirhams off revenue, Emirates President Tim Clark said in April.

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