Dubai Airports
PO Box 2525, Dubai
United Arab Emirates
+971 4 216 1203
+971 4 224 4703
Fact sheet
Runway closure May-July 2014
Dubai Airports resumed full operations at Dubai International on July 21, 2014 following the
successful completion of a major, 80-day runway refurbishment and upgrading project.
As part of the project the southern runway was closed from May 1 to May 31, 2014 while the
northern runway was out of operation from May 31 to July 20, 2014.
The runway upgrade project was ahead of schedule with work on the southern runway
completed on May 27 – full four full days ahead of the planned May 31 completion date.
To safeguard service levels and optimise capacity while the work was taking place, scheduled
passenger flights at Dubai International were reduced and all freighter, charter and general
aviation flights were be diverted to Al Maktoum International at Dubai World Central (DWC).
In all there was a 26 per cent reduction in the number of aircraft movements at DXB during
the maintenance period.
The runway rehabilitation and additional taxiway construction resulted in the consumption of
circa 800,000 tonnes of aggregates, 11,000 airfield lighting luminaires, 1,050km of cabling,
1,750 new manholes and 8.3km of drainage piping.
The northern runway was nearing the end of its design life and required resurfacing and other
modifications to accommodate future traffic. At the same time there was a requirement to
upgrade runway lighting and construct new rapid exit taxiways on the southern runway to
boost capacity.
Impact on flight schedules
Airport Coordination Limited (ACL) had allocated 96% of the total available capacity during
the runway maintenance period. The total resulting reduction was estimated to be about
26%. The base carriers – Emirates airline and flydubai – contributed 52.8% of the total
required reduction while the restriction of freighters and charter operators together with other
scheduled passenger airlines contributed 47.2% of the required reduction.
Airlines flying to Dubai actively communicated schedule changes required by the runway
refurbishment programme, while some other airlines elected to move their flights to Al
Maktoum International for the duration of the 80 days.
In its planning Dubai Airports had built in flexibility into the flight schedule over the 80 days to
ensure that should there be any delays, such as poor weather conditions, it was able to
quickly recover to normal operations.
Planning for the 80-day closure
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.
A considerable amount of advanced planning and coordination between all stakeholders was
required to minimise the impact of the 80-day closure. This included construction work that
could be conducted ahead of the 80-day refurbishment period.
Pre-works included the construction of an end around taxiway to Dubai International’s
northern runway. The new taxiway allows aircraft using the southern runway to taxi to the
north side of the airfield, avoiding crossing over the northern runway and thus improving
traffic flow on both runways both during and after the refurbishment programme.
Other works included construction of rapid exit taxiways on both runways to reduce runway
occupancy times. Most of the construction started prior to May1 and was completed during
the 80-day period.
Dubai Airports had formed several operational and planning groups and task forces involving
people from across stakeholder groups to ensure smooth transition and operations
throughout the programme at both airports.
Passenger traffic at DWC increased sharply with more than 600 passenger flights a week
operating from the airport during the 80-day period.
A total of 18 airlines had applied for slots at DWC during the 80-day runway refurbishment
programme. This include 12 airlines that relocated to DWC for the 80 period and include
flydubai, Malaysian Airlines, Royal Brunei, PAL Express, Qatar Airways, Gulf Air, Jazeera
Airways, and East Horizon.
As with Dubai International, DWC operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
The Roads and Transport Authority provided a fully integrated ground transportation solution
for Al Maktoum International with a regular bus service from key locations in Dubai and a
dedicated fleet of taxis serving the airport. Dubai Airports also provided a shuttle service
every 30 minutes between the two airports. The shuttle operated between the passenger
terminal at DWC and the departures areas of terminals 1, 2 and 3 at Dubai International,
completing the journey in about 2 hours.
Construction during the 80-day closure
More than 2,500 employees will be involved in the construction and refurbishment of the
Facts and Figures
Northern runway: 4,000m by 60m
Southern runway: 4.500m by 60m