Sharjah’s Department of Civil Aviation has awarded the local Wade Adams Contracting the estimated AED600m ($163m) deal to build a new runway at Sharjah International airport.

The new runway will be about 4 kilometres long. It will replace the existing runway at the airport, which will be used as an area for planes to taxi and as a back-up runway when the new runway needs maintenance work.

The consultant is the UK’s Halcrow.

The existing runway is 30 years old and needs upgrading to accommodate the rise in traffic levels at the airport since local budget airline Air Arabia was formed in 2003.

In 2005, Saudi Binladin Group won a AED227m contract to redevelop and expand the airport. The contract involved a concourse, air bridges, three gates, arrival and departure areas, an expanded duty-free area, check-in areas and a 150-vehicle car park adjacent to the arrivals area.