Airport capacity

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Tackling unique challenges at Dubai

Dubai International recorded 12.4% year-on-year growth and has handled around 33 million passengers in the first 8 months of 2012, making it one of the world's fastest growing airports.

The aggressive growth strategies of airlines such as Emirates and flydubai have stimulated demand, particularly during peak arrival and departure periods – so that further airport capacity increases will be needed.

Helios recently completed a project for Dubai Air Navigation Services to develop an ATM strategy to help meet forecast traffic growth in partnership with Dubai Airport. Whilst airport capacity can be constrained for many reasons, the most significant constraint at Dubai is the runway − and resolving runway capacity at Dubai is particularly challenging. As well as ever increasing demand, there are a number of other obstacles to overcome, some of which are unique to Dubai. The airport is located in complex airspace close to several Flight Information Region (FIR) boundaries and in close proximity to several other major airports. It also suffers from testing environmental conditions which, when combined with the two closely spaced runways and a unique traffic mix – including the largest A380 operation in the world – pose a significant challenge in achieving optimal runway utilisation during peak traffic periods.

Helios' operational and technical experts worked closely with Dubai Air Navigation Services, the airport and airlines to support the development of an ATM strategy and a costed programme aligned to the airport's own strategic plan. Amongst other solutions, the strategy exploits optimised wake vortex sequencing and dual arrivals on closely spaced parallel runways. To meet capacity and maintain Dubai as an innovative international airport, the programme includes new initiatives in safety, flight efficiency and the environment. The key deliverable from Helios' airport economics team was a demonstration of the likely costs and benefits of the operation, programmes and individual projects to different stakeholders.

Increasing capacity will deliver real economic benefits to Dubai Airport, its customers and the UAE economy as a whole − starting in early 2013.

Dubai is just the latest example of Helios' work for some of the busiest and most complex airports in the world, including London Heathrow, Amsterdam Schiphol and Singapore Changi.

For more information on our airport and ANS services please contact Alan Corner.


Ivan Baruta

Ivan Baruta worked closely with Dubai Air Navigation Services and project director Alan Corner to develop the cost-benefit analysis and the business plan for this project. Ivan is a core member of our London Heathrow Airport team, analysing emissions impact of displaced thresholds and the early morning schedule, and assessing new efficient and flexible ways to help cut delays. Ivan has recently moved to Farnborough from our Žilina office in Slovakia

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