Dubai Airports today confirmed plans to close Dubai International’s (DXB) southern runway for a 45-day period in 2019 to conduct a comprehensive upgrade designed to boost safety, service and capacity levels.
DXB operates 24/7, 365 days per year with over 1,100 aircraft movements per day featuring predominantly wide-body aircraft. While ongoing runway maintenance is scheduled on a weekly basis, more extensive upgrades require a complete closure of the runway. Such is the case with DXB’s southern runway (12R-30L) which is nearing the end of its design life and requires complete resurfacing and replacement of the airfield ground lighting and supporting infrastructure. DXB’s northern runway underwent a similar programme in 2014.
The southern runway refurbishment project will involve the placement of approximately 60,000 tonnes of asphalt and 8,000m3 of concrete to strengthen and resurface the runway and the adjacent taxiways. Dubai Airports will also use the opportunity to install 800 km of primary cables and replace over 5,500 runway lights with more modern, economic and environmentally friendly technology.
To limit the impact on service, the upgrade work is scheduled to take place from April 16 to May 30 when passenger traffic historically ebbs due to a seasonal lull. During the closure period, airlines will be required to reduce their operations to DXB due to the significant capacity reduction resulting from single runway operations. Dubai Airports has provided additional advance notice to all airlines to plan for the flight reductions and schedule planning.
As was the case during the 2014 runway upgrade programme, Dubai World Central (DWC) will be an available alternative to absorb affected scheduled flights as well as charter, cargo and general aviation operations. DWC is currently undergoing the completion of an expansion programme that will boost its capacity from 5-7 million passengers per year to 26 million passengers per year.
Paul Griffiths, Dubai Airports CEO said, “In the months ahead we will be working closely with Dubai Aviation Engineering Projects, airlines and other stakeholders to ensure we optimise service and capacity during this period next year and minimise the impact on our customers. While we regret any inconvenience this may cause to our airline customers and our passengers, these upgrades are absolutely necessary to heighten safety, boost capacity and pave the way for future growth.”