Dubai Airports has announced it will conduct an extensive runway enhancement project at Dubai International during an 80 day period commencing May 1st, 2014.
To safeguard service levels while the work is taking place, scheduled passenger flights at its hub airport will be reduced and all freighter, charter and general aviation flights will be diverted to Dubai World Central.
The northern runway is nearing the end of its design life and requires resurfacing and other modifications to accommodate future traffic.
At the same time there is a requirement to upgrade runway lighting and construct new taxiways on the southern runway to boost capacity.
The runway rehabilitation project will involve the placement of 180,000 tonnes of asphalt on the northern runway, 65,000 tonnes of asphalt and 70,000 cubic metres of concrete on the southern runway and taxiways as well as the installation of 3,000 runway lights.
Runway resurfacing is a common occurrence with airports around the world, however, as Dubai International offers airlines a 24/7 operation, runway closures are more complex and must be meticulously planned.
Dubai Airports already closes each runway at Dubai International for five hours per week to conduct regular maintenance but the size and scope of the programme will require each runway to be closed for extended periods of time.
The southern runway will be closed from May 1st to May 31st, 2014 while the northern runway will be out of operation May 31st to July 20th, 2014 as the upgrades are implemented.
“Safety and service are our two top priorities,” said Paul Griffiths, chief executive, Dubai Airports.
“While we regret any inconvenience caused to our airline customers and our passengers, these upgrades are necessary to heighten safety, boost capacity and quite literally pave the way for future expansion.”
Discussions are underway with airlines to reduce flight schedules during the 80 day period to protect service levels and optimise the capacity that is available at both airports.
In addition to hosting all cargo, charter and general aviation operations, Dubai World Central, which opens its doors for passenger operations on October 27th, will be an available alternative to absorb affected scheduled passenger flights.
To allow operators sufficient time to plan for the capacity reduction, Dubai Airports has started the schedule coordination process for the summer 2014 period earlier than normal.