ME Airports Prepare for A380

Senior airport and civil aviation officials from across the Middle East will be advised by experts this week on how to prepare for the arrival of the Airbus A380, the world’s largest passenger aircraft. Carrying 555 passengers, around a third more than its closest competitor, the new “super jumbo” A380 enters airline service next year bringing with it a need for significant upgrading of airport facilities.

That need is highlighted in the Middle East, where airport development and expansion projects worth more than US$20 billion are currently taking place and Emirates Airline alone has 45 A380s on order for delivery between 2006 and 2008. Leading airport engineers will use the Airport Build & Supply Exhibition, which opened in Dubai today, to demonstrate to senior airport and civil aviation officials a comprehensive range of solutions for the A380, the world’s first full-length twin-deck aircraft.

Organised by Streamline Marketing and taking place at the Airport Expo, Dubai the three-day exhibition will be used by architects and design engineers, ADPi as a showcase for its expertise in hangar design solutions for the A380.Ê

The company designed the Final Assembly Line for A380 aircraft in Toulouse, France and has since then used its experience to tailor-make A380 hangar facilities at the Emirates Engineering Centre in Dubai. ADPi is also designing the future hangars for the New Doha International Airport.

The A380 super jumbo will also be the focus of the Second Forum for Airport Pavement Engineers, which will be held on the second and third days of the exhibition. The forum will address topics such as runway and taxiway length and width, pavement strength, separation of airfield operation areas, gate configuration and the cost involved in updating these facilities.

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Organised by one of Saudi Arabia’s leading engineering consulting companies, Gulf Engineering House (GHE), the forum features six renowned experts in the area of airport pavements, including Cyril Fabre, Head of the A380 Pavement Experimental Programme with Airbus in France. Visitors to the forum will also have a chance to hear from Dr. Gordon F Hayhoe, Manager, National Airport Testing Facility, Atlantic City, Federal Aviation Administration FAA, USA.

Almost 40 per cent of the 139 A380s ordered to date are being bought by airlines based in the Middle East. In addition to Emirates, which is the biggest buyer worldwide, Etihad Airways has ordered four A380s due for delivery in 2007. Qatar Airways has signed a firm contract for two A380s plus two options, for delivery in early 2009.

A record number of over 300 suppliers are gathering for the Airport Build & Supply Exhibition this year. For the first time, the event features seminars designed to introduce exhibitors to some of the Middle East’s most exciting airport development projects.ÊDuring the seminars, delegates will get to hear first hand from decision makers involved in Qatar’s US$5 billion New Doha International Airport, as well as the Imam Khomeini International Airport in Iran, Yemen’s Sana’a International Airport and Angola’s Luanda International Airport.Ê

Middle East investors will also be given a chance to participate in a public-private partnership project set to transform India’s oldest airport at Nagpur into an international passenger and cargo hub. Also under the spotlight will be the ambitious airport projects in Dubai, Jebel Ali, Abu Dhabi and Fujairah.
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