Dubai: Malaysia Airlines will temporarily shift all of its flights to Al Maktoum International at Dubai World Central later this year when runway repair work cuts capacity at Dubai International.
“From May 1 to July 29 we will be operating from Al Maktoum [International] Airport,” said Nur Shaffik Haris, Malaysia Airlines General Manager for the UAE and Gulf.
Malaysia Airlines is the first airline to confirm it will shift its entire operation during the 80-day runway maintenance period at Dubai International.
Royal Brunei and flydubai previously announced they are shifting select operations.
Lufthansa, Austrian Airlines and Swiss, all part of the Lufthansa Group, have said they are cutting services.
Qantas, Emirates’ codeshare partner, has maintained all services, however, with changes to its arrival and departure times. Other airlines have not confirmed their summer schedule.
But Malaysia Airline will not be permanently settling in at Al Maktoum International, which will be able to handle at least 160 million passengers a year once completed in 2020.
Haris said that the airline has no long-term plans for the new airport and that it will return to Dubai International after July 20.
Malaysia Airlines re-launched services from Kuala Lumpur to Dubai last August after an 18-month hiatus. The relaunch has seen the introduction of an Airbus A330-300 on the daily route, replacing a dated Boeing 777 aircraft.
“When we relaunched it in August, the response was very encouraging. Even now we are seeing a very good response from the market,” Haris said.
Malaysia Airlines will focus on rebuilding the route for the immediate future but the carrier knows it will need to boost services to carve out their market share.
“Looking at the long-term, we need to have passengers…one flight a day is not enough,” Haris said on the prospects of multiple daily flights.