Emirates Studies Fort Lauderdale, Runway Length An Issue

Emirates evaluated the possibility of adding service to Fort Lauderdale recently, but the runway at the airport may be too short to support the flight.

In September, officials from the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention and Visitors Bureau held discussions with Emirates employees at a Routes conference in Durban, South Africa to encourage the airline to consider adding the service.

Broward County Aviation officials contacted Emirates shortly thereafter. The airline responded that “airfield compatibility” might be an issue for the airline’s 777-300ER and 777-200LR aircraft, but that their Flight Operations team was studying it. The two sides last communicated in late October.

The longest runway at Fort Lauderdale is just 9,000 feet, much shorter than what exists at MIA. The airline would be forced to load their plane with fewer passengers and cargo in order to be able to take off, making an A380 out of the question for such a long flight. Any 777 type is also likely not economically feasible, airport officials acknowledge. A 787 might work, but Emirates doesn’t operate any.

Emirates has also told the airport that their strategic interest at this time is in nonstop flights from Dubai to the U.S., and the airline wouldn’t consider flying from Europe to Fort Lauderdale or Miami. FLL officials had requested that the airline consider flying via Milan in order to avoid the payload hit, but were rejected.

Emirates has an extensive partnership with JetBlue, which has a hub at FLL.