Emirates carries one million fewer passengers in 2019 amid 45-day airport runway closure

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The Dubai-based airline said on Tuesday it operated over 3,500 flights on average per week, or over 186,000 flights in 2019. This is down from the nearly 3,700 flights a week in 2018 (or total of 192,000 flights in the year) as Emirates had to cut down operations during the 45-day closure of one of the two runways at Dubai International Airport.

In April and May, multiple airlines operating at Dubai’s main airport had to trim their capacity as a result of the runway closure. Emirates earlier acknowledged the impact of this, saying that the closure hurt its revenues, especially as it came during the busy Easter period.

In its statement on Tuesday, Emirates said 2019 was “a year of recalibration” in terms of its fleet and network plans. In February, Emirates cut its order for Airbus’ A380 aircraft, forcing the European plane manufacturer to end the production of A380s altogether.

Tim Clark, president of Emirates Airline, said the carrier’s approach to capacity deployment this year as well as its response to forces of politics and socio-economics, yielded results and demonstrated agility.

“In 2020, we’ll continue to leverage our partnerships to provide even more connectivity and value for our customers,” Clark said. “And we look forward to welcoming the world to Dubai for Expo 2020, where we will showcase the future of aviation at the Emirates pavilion.”

In 2019, Emirates ended the year with 26 code-share partners, the latest of which was a code-share with India’s SpiceJet. Other code-share deals inked in 2019 were with China Southern Airlines, Africa World Airlines, LATAM Airlines, and Interjet.

Emirates also continued to strengthen its relationship with flydubai, after the two signed a partnership deal two years ago.

In terms of its fleet going forward, the airline signed deals worth a total of $24.8 billion at this year’s Dubai Air Show. This included an order for 50 of Airbus’ A350 jets and a confirmation of a deal for 30 of Boeing’s 787 aircraft.