A runway closure and a new room tax are on the way in Dubai

Simon Calder reports on double trouble

One million Brits visit Dubai each year, but for 80 days between May and July, the number of flights to and from the Emirate will be cut. And, from this month, rooms will be more expensive.

Why the reduction in flights?

Dubai handles more international passengers than any airport except Heathrow. Between 1 May and 20 July, all flights will use a single runway with the other out of action. "The northern runway is nearing the end of its design life and requires resurfacing and other modifications,"explains the operator, Dubai Airports – adding: "There is a requirement to upgrade runway lighting and construct new rapid exit taxiways on the southern runway to boost capacity." The plan is to operate 74 per cent of aircraft movements during the project.

So one in four flights will go. Which ones?

Freighter and charter flights are being moved to the newly opened Al Maktoum International, along with some scheduled passenger services; an express bus will run between the two airports. But that still leaves a large number of cancellations – most of them by Emirates, whose hub is Dubai. Emirates' UK routes are heavily used and are regarded as among the airline's most important services. The impact here is minimal, e.g. shifting the times of Birmingham-Dubai flights. Australian links are also little affected. But onward connection options to Asia and Africa will reduce, which could push up fares. Bangkok, Hong Kong, Delhi, Mumbai and Johannesburg will all get fewer flights.

The construction work will presumably increase the risk of flight disruption?

Yes. That's why Dubai Airports has issued a strict "Slot Adherence Policy", requiring airlines to stick to their allocated times – with fines of up to 100,000 dirhams (£16,000) for "slot misuse". The organisation says it has "built in flexibility into the flight schedule over the 80 days to ensure that, should there be any delays, such as poor weather conditions, it is able to quickly recover to normal operations."

Why will rooms be more expensive?

Because of a new tax on tourists, to pay for the cost of attracting more tourists. The "Tourism Dirham", as the tax is known, takes effect on 31 March. The Crown Prince of Dubai has issued a resolution imposing the levy on "all genres and rating of holiday accommodation", including hotels, apart-hotels, guest houses and holiday homes. The measure will "strengthen Dubai's position as a leading tourist destination, bringing the Emirate in line with international industry standards", say the authorities. "Such tourism fees are charged in several leading tourist destinations around the world."

Given the relatively high price of a night's stay in Dubai, the additional charge is hardly astronomical. It will vary from 7 to 20 dirhams (£1.15 to £3.20) per room per night, depending on the quality of accommodation, adding barely 6 per cent to a £200-a-night five-star room. But it will mean hassle for visitors. Even if you book and pay for a hotel in advance, you must pay the tax locally when checking out.

Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor and Clara have their first real heart to heart since he regenerated in 'Deep Breath'
TV
Life and Style
Apple showed no sign of losing its talent for product launches with the new, slightly larger iPhone 6 making headlines
techSecurity breaches and overhyped start-ups dominated a year in which very little changed (save the size of your phone)
News
The official police photograph of Dustin Diamond taken after he was arrested in Wisconsin
peopleDownfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
Arts and Entertainment
Jeremy Clarkson, left, and Richard Hammond upset the locals in South America
tvReview: Top Gear team flee Patagonia as Christmas special reaches its climax in the style of Butch and Sundance
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
News
Ernesto Che Guevara and Fidel Castro, right, met at Havana Golf Club in 1962 to mock the game
newsFidel Castro ridiculed the game – but now investment in leisure resort projects is welcome
News
Hackers revealed Oscar-winning actress Lawrence was paid less than her male co-stars in American Hustle
people
Arts and Entertainment
Clueless? Locked-door mysteries are the ultimate manifestation of the cerebral detective story
booksAs a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor explains the rules of engagement
Sport
Robin van Persie is blocked by Hugo Lloris
footballTottenham vs Manchester United match report
Life and Style
A general view during the 2014 Victoria's Secret Fashion Show at Earl's Court exhibition centre on 2 December, 2014 in London, England
fashionIt's not all about the catwalks: the big changes of the past year can be summed up in six clothing items
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Recruitment Genius: Accounts Administrator

    £16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

    Recruitment Genius: Personal Trainer / PT - OTE £30,000 Uncapped

    £25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The fastest growing fitness cha...

    Investigo: Finance Analyst

    £240 - £275 per day: Investigo: Support the global business through in-depth a...

    Ashdown Group: Data Manager - £Market Rate

    Negotiable: Ashdown Group: Data Manager - MySQL, Shell Scripts, Java, VB Scrip...

    Day In a Page

    A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

    A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

    Who remembers that this week we enter the 150th anniversary year of the end of the American Civil War, asks Robert Fisk
    Homeless Veterans appeal: Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served
    Downfall of Dustin 'Screech' Diamond, the 'Saved By The Bell' star charged with bar stabbing

    Scarred by the bell

    The downfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
    Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

    Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

    Security breaches and overhyped start-ups dominated a year in which very little changed (save the size of your phone)
    Cuba's golf revolution: But will the revolutionary nation take 'bourgeois' game to its heart?

    Will revolutionary Cuba take 'bourgeois' golf to its heart?

    Fidel Castro ridiculed the game – but now investment in leisure resort projects is welcome
    The Locked Room Mysteries: As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor Otto Penzler explains the rules of engagement

    The Locked Room Mysteries

    As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor explains the rules of engagement
    Amy Adams on playing painter Margaret Keane in Tim Burton's Big Eyes

    How I made myself Keane

    Amy Adams hadn’t wanted to take the role of artist Margaret Keane, because she’d had enough of playing victims. But then she had a daughter, and saw the painter in a new light
    Ed Richards: Parting view of Ofcom chief. . . we hate jokes on the disabled

    Parting view of Ofcom chief... we hate jokes on the disabled

    Bad language once got TV viewers irate, inciting calls to broadcasting switchboards. But now there is a worse offender, says retiring head of the media watchdog, Ed Richards
    A look back at fashion in 2014: Wear in review

    Wear in review

    A look back at fashion in 2014
    Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015. Might just one of them happen?

    Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015

    Might just one of them happen?
    War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

    The West needs more than a White Knight

    Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
    Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

    'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

    Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
    Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

    Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

    Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
    The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

    The stories that defined 2014

    From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
    Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

    Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

    Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?