Dubai: Emirates will wait to assess the performance of Dubai’s newest airport before shifting base from Dubai International Airport, aviation analysts have said.
Despite possible moves by Dubai Airports to fast track Emirates to Al Maktoum International before 2025, Emirates will ultimately be the ones who decide when the timing is right to move across town.
It has been suggested by some analysts that Emirates could shift part of its passenger operations to the new airport but this is unlikely to occur due to the carriers reliance on its “hub airline” image.
“Emirates cannot afford to be fragmented. They have to be all or nothing,” John Strickland, Director at UK-based aviation advisory JLS Consultancy.
While less congestion at Al Maktoum International could be an attraction, Emirates have just invested in the A380 capable Terminal 3 and so there is still ample capacity to meet Emirates immediate plans.
Ultimately the new airport is unlikely to poach too much traffic from Dubai International considering it only has capacity for up to seven million passengers under phase one. In comparison Dubai International handles five to six million passengers a month according to Simon Elsegood, Senior Analyst (Middle East & Africa) at Capa – Centre for Aviation.
The long term plan for Emirates is to eventually shift its base to the future super aviation hub - Al Maktoum International but not until it has been tested.
“Shifting such a huge and fragile operation from one airport to another is a massive undertaking. Not least because it has to be carefully planned much in advance,” Ivo Pezelj, Analyst & Editor at Aspire Aviation, a Hong Kong-based airline consultancy, said.
In the mean time it is likely that other airlines operating at Dubai International airport who do not rely on its hub status could switch over to Al Maktoum International. Kuwaiti-based Jazeera Airways and Bahraini-based Gulf Air have both announced services from the new airport but will not be shifting their operations. Instead, at this point, they will only be adding flights.
But Emirates is likely to benefit from the airlines who do decide to switch in the short-term, Pezelj stated, giving the airline much-needed breathing space.
“It will allow Emirates to continue expanding in a less congested environment without the risk involved in hopping to a new airport,” Pezelj stated.