(Adds details, analysis of impact)
By Alexander Cornwell
DUBAI, Feb 26 (Reuters) - Dubai International Airport will close one of its two runways for 45 days next year for upgrade work, temporarily reducing capacity at the world’s busiest airport for international travellers, its operator said on Monday.
The southern runway will be closed from April 16 to May 30, 2019 for resurfacing and replacement of ground lighting and other infrastructure, Dubai Airports said in a statement.
Dubai International, which handled 88.2 million passengers in 2017, is the base for major Middle East airline Emirates and discount carrier flydubai, and an engine for Dubai’s economy, which relies heavily on tourism and travel.
Capacity will be significantly reduced by the temporary runway closure and airlines will have to scale back their operations during the 45 days, Dubai Airports said.
However, it added that airlines would be able to use Dubai’s second airport, Al Maktoum International, located about 60 kilometres (38 miles) away. That airport is being expanded and plans call for it eventually to be even bigger than Dubai International.
Dubai International operated with one runway for 80 days in 2014 because of upgrade and repair work on both its runways. That closure cost the Emirates Group an estimated $467 million in lost revenue, according to its financial statements.
The airport has projected a 2.4 percent increase in passengers this year to 90.3 million. (Reporting by Alexander Cornwell; Editing by Andrew Torchia)