Dubai: Flydubai will be permanently moving from Dubai International to Al Maktoum International at Dubai World Central “in the next year,” the UAE’s top aviation official said on Thursday.
Saif Mohammad Al Suwaidi, Director General of the UAE General Civil Aviation Authority, said flydubai will not divide its operations between the two airports because “Dubai International has reached its maximum capacity [and] cannot offer more slots to newcomers.”
Al Suwaidi was speaking to the media on the sidelines of the Authority’s “2014 – 2016 Strategic Plan” launch event.
Earlier this week, a flydubai spokesperson speaking to Gulf News, denied that it had confirmed it will move its operations to Dubai’s newest airport.
The spokesperson was commenting in response to Rashid Bu Qara’a, Chief Operating Officer at DWC developer Dubai Aviation City Corporation, who said that flydubai is moving to Al Maktoum International “in the near future”.
A flydubai spokesperson told Gulf News on Thursday there was no change in its stance and that it denies it is moving.
It will, however, shift some of its operations to the airport between May 1 and July 20 when runway repairs at Dubai International cut capacity. The airline has said all operations will return to Dubai International after July 20.
Emirates staying put
Al Suwaidi said that Emirates will not be heading to Al Maktoum International before 2020, reaffirming comments reportedly made by Bu Qara’a to the media earlier this week.
Al Maktoum International is set to be one of the world’s largest airports and is expected to handle as many 200 million passengers annually once completed. Its current capacity is capped at seven million passengers a year.
Al Suwaidi said he “has not seen any plans for Emirates to move” over to the new airport suggesting that Dubai’s leading carrier could wait until after Expo 2020 is over to move.
An Emirates spokesperson told Gulf News that any decision to move Emirates’ current operations from Dubai International to DWC is one for the Dubai government to make. “Nothing has been announced yet,” the spokesperson said.