Jebel Ali airport runway takes off

02 December 2005
Dubai's Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) has invited at least seven companies to bid by 13 December for the construction of the first runway at the proposed Jebel Ali International Airport (JXB) and Dubai Logistics City (DLC). A team of Beirut-based Dar al-Handasah (Shair & Partners)and Aeroports de Paris (AdP) is the project management consultant (PMC - MEED 23:9:05).

The JXB-INF/002 package entails the construction of a 4.5-kilometre runway, for which Abu Dhabi-based Trident Transport Companyis carrying out the grading works. The potential bidders include: the local Al-Naboodah Contracting; Khansaheb Civil Engineering, also local; the local/Cypriot J&P National Wheel; the local/UK Dutco Balfour Beatty (DBB); Athens-based Consolidated Contractors International Company(CCC); and Saudi Binladin Group.

Designed to handle the A380-800F freighter aircraft from Europe's Airbus, the client expects to make an award on the runway package by February, with completion scheduled for November 2007.

Two other packages are also due out by mid-December. JXB-INF/003 covers construction of two 4.5-kilometre taxiways; JXB-IFN/006 entails construction of a heliport and a tunnel underneath the runway.

The runway contract is part of the first phase of the 140-square-kilometre Jebel Ali Airport City (JAAC) development. Phase 1 also centres on the construction of DLC, which is scheduled to be ready by the end of 2007.

DLC will cover an area of 25 square kilometres and provide logistics services primarily for the new airport, Jebel Ali Free Zone and Jebel Ali port. Trade and industry customers will be given the option of building their own facilities, including distribution centres, regional headquarters and warehouses. According to officials at DCA, 14 million square metres of land has already been leased to 35 companies with work scheduled to begin on individual premises by the second quarter of 2006. Switzerland-based ADI Consultingis the consultant on DLC.

The airport will initially have two runways and be able to handle about 1 million tonnes a year (t/y) of cargo. However, the masterplan has been designed to eventually handle 12 million t/y of air cargo with up to 16 cargo terminals. It is understood that all non- EmiratesCargo activities will be handled out of Jebel Ali, while Emirates Cargo will continue to be handled by Dubai International Airport (DIA).

Non-scheduled flights, general aviation services and executive airlines will also be given the option of flying into Jebel Ali, although main passenger carriers will continue to fly to DIA. Once phase 1 is completed, passenger services will also gradually be added. In the masterplan, the airport will have an ultimate capacity of 120 million passengers a year, the size of Chicago and London's Heathrow airports combined. Final phases envisage six parallel runways.

Residential and commercial aspects have also been incorporated into the masterplan. These will be focused on several clusters including a commercial city, aviation city, residential city, golf resort, science and technology park and a 300,000-square-metre exhibition city, to be opened by 2009. The commercial city will centre on the construction of 850 mixed-use towers with heights of 50-300 metres.

Located to the south of Jebel Ali village, the project has been fast-tracked due to growing space constraints at DIA and the rapid growth of Emirates. The DIA hub is anticipating passenger numbers will reach almost 60 million by 2010. In 2004, it handled 21.7 million passengers. DCA is already carrying out a $4,100 million expansion of the existing airport.

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