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Dubai gears up for 120 match-day shuttle flights to Qatar World Cup

Dubai Airports said travellers must hold a valid match ticket and the Hayya card to board match day shuttle flights

Dubai Airports is preparing for a massive surge in passenger numbers at Dubai World Central (DWC), with the match day shuttle flights to Doha, Qatar, for the FIFA World Cup 2022 all set to start from November 20.

UAE’s low-cost Flydubai and Qatar Airways will fly up to 120 match-day shuttle flights in and out of DWC every day between November 20 and December 19, the UAE state-owned WAM news agency reported.

The 26.5-million-passenger-per-annum capacity terminal at DWC is fully operational, serving existing charter operations by multiple international carriers.

The launch of the match day shuttle flights and additional charter flights connected to the FIFA World Cup games are expected to increase the passenger demand at DWC three-fold over the coming weeks.

Passenger numbers at the airport are forecast to surpass 494,000 in the final three months of the year.

“A spike in demand of this magnitude would pose a challenge for any airport, but we have had some recent practice,” said Paul Griffiths, CEO of Dubai Airports.

In May-June this year, Dubai Airports orchestrated the temporary relocation of more than 1,000 flights a week from Dubai International (DXB) to DWC for the 45-day-long DXB northern runway rehabilitation project.

“The collaborative spirit within the airport community here in Dubai is strong, and it will go into overdrive in the coming weeks to convert this challenge into a great opportunity,” Griffiths added.

He added that the FIFA World Cup-related operations will provide Dubai Airports a chance to showcase DWC’s quick turnaround time for carriers and a full-fledged facility designed for quick and easy travel.

The operator will deploy a dedicated front-line team to facilitate efficient processing at every service touchpoint, ensuring a consistently smooth experience and on-time departures.

More than 60 check-in counters, 21 boarding gates, 60 passport control counters (departures and arrivals) and 10 smart gates, and four baggage belts on arrivals will be operational throughout the period to cope with the anticipated surge in demand.

Getting to and from the airport will also be made more accessible through a Road Transport Authority (RTA) dedicated bus service operating every 30 minutes around the clock between DWC and Ibn Battuta metro station and Expo City metro station.

Dubai Airports said travellers must hold a valid match ticket and the Hayya card to board match day shuttle flights. 

In addition to the match day shuttle services, Flydubai and Qatar Airways will be operating charter flights to cater to the passenger demand for the FIFA World Cup, the report said.