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Soumik Dey
Soumik Dey


Indian airlines breathe easy as Dubai airport reopens

dubai-airport-officials Paul Griffiths, the CEO of Dubai Airports, listens to a question from a journalist in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, on Thursday | AP

After the crash of an Emirates aircraft in Dubai International airport on Wednesday, situation is returning to normal at the world's busiest airport.

Following the crash, Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju had tweeted on Wednesday, "Dubai: only widebody aircraft allowed till 7 AM (Friday). AIl routing through Sharjah; Jet through Sharjah and Abu Dhabi. IndiGo and SpiceJet cancelled (Thursday)."

Dubai airport authorities, however, ensured that the affected runway was back in operation in no time. “The runway went back into service at 5:45 pm local time after being out of commission for 29 hours,” said Paul Griffiths, chief executive at Dubai Airports, the facility’s operator.

“The reopening will pave the way for a full resumption of activities at the airport, he said. The airport stopped flights entirely for almost six hours following the accident on Wednesday afternoon. It resumed operations at 6:30 pm local time Wednesday on a restricted basis, with just one of two runways in use, according to the airports operator.

A total of 242 flights were canceled and 64 planes diverted to neighboring airports after the incident. Around 19,000 passengers were affected before the resumption of partial operations, according to the airports operator. Dubai International handled about 1,100 flights a day on average last year, according to a Dubai Airports report.

“The airport is expected to be on a recovery mode for the next 48 hours with efforts in full swing to clear backlogged flights,” Dubai Airports said in a statement.

Daily, close to 30,000 Indians fly to Dubai and majority of them transit here to reach the rest of the world. Among Indian carriers, only AI and Jet Airways operate widebody jets among Indian carriers. Budget carriers Indigo and Spicejet do operate a number of flights to Dubai, but they have only single aisle planes in their fleet.

Some airlines decided to reschedule flights to neighbouring Sharjah. Jet Airways tweeted: "Thursday's 9W 545 from Dubai-Delhi is rescheduled to operate as Sharjah-Delhi... 9W 546 from Delhi-Dubai has been rescheduled to operate as Delhi-Sharjah."

"We will have to reach Sharjah and perhaps drive down to Dubai from there. I hope we can make it on time," said Punit Ranjan, a college student visiting the UK via Dubai.

Airlines like SpiceJet and Indigo that had earlier cancelled flights resumed services on Friday stating that Dubai airport authorities had informed them about the reopening of the second runway.

Spicejet said in a statement that it is making alternate travel arrangements for passengers from airports neighbouring Dubai. "Our flights to Dubai have been diverted to Al Maktoum International Airport, Ras Al Khaimah and Sharjah. We are arranging alternate mode of travel from these airports so that our passengers can reach Dubai city."

Indigo, too, said in a statement on Friday that it had resumed normal operations for Dubai on all routes. The low cost airline had on Tuesday inaugurated operations on a new route between Chandigarh and Dubai. Operations on the route had got halted owing to the incident in Dubai.

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Topics : #air crash | #aviation

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