25°15′10″N | 055°21′52″E

Dubai International Airport, United Arab Emirates Overview

Scope of Work Planning, design, engineering, and construction management
Value $800 million
Schedule 1990–2000
Business Infrastructure

A 10-year plan for a massive upgrade

dubai international airport bechtelThe Dubai government selected Bechtel to upgrade and expand the Dubai International Airport. The 10-year plan called for a massive and widely varied set of components, including a satellite concourse with 28 gates, 42 loading bridges, and 221 check-in counters (1.3 million square feet [120,770 square meters] in all; duty-free and specialty shops; a 100-room, five-star luxury hotel; conference, business service, and entertainment centers; and restaurants.

Bechtel served as designer, project manager, and construction manager for the airport and runway system, terminals, access roadways, parking facilities, and a cargo complex.

The airport is a focal point for the growth of business and tourism throughout the United Arab Emirates. The cargo and free-trade-zone complex earned the International Cargo Airport Forum’s Best Cargo Airport award.

Nearly 13,000 metric tons of steel used to construct the frame of the new concourse.

The project team also completed:

  • Major aprons and taxiways to support the new satellite concourse
  • A charter terminal that handles more than 500 passengers per hour
  • A new 13,000-foot (4,000-meter) runway and taxi system, including state-of-the-art navigational aids and computerized airfield lighting systems
  • A cargo and free-trade-zone complex
  • A new automated baggage handling system
  • A new air traffic control tower, a fuel farm, a central utility plant, fire stations, and associated airside facilities

Huge economic engine

The cargo and free-trade-zone complex helped make Dubai International a cargo hub for the Middle East. In 2013, it was the world’s fifth-largest cargo airport, and  #7 in the world for passenger traffic―serving more than 66 million travelers.

Innovative CADD

dubai international airport

Design efforts set new standards in the use of computer technology and complex simulations to develop alternatives, provide for more informed decision-making, explore operations issues, and improve public outreach. We planned all construction activities to minimize the impact on existing airport operations.

Using Bechtel’s worldwide computer network, a highly skilled team completed all architectural design using state-of-the-art computer-aided design and drafting (CADD) and document tracking systems. Our network facilitated design review and electronic exchange of CADD design drawings among Bechtel offices worldwide (including San Francisco, London, and New Delhi) and the project team in Dubai, increasing speed and accuracy.

Virtual reality simulations aided decision-making, allowing our customer to “experience” the result during the design stage. Automated simulation studies also helped establish planning and design criteria for aircraft movement and passenger flow.

Bechtel’s use of 3-D modeling enabled the project team to run electronic interference—checking, for example, on ductwork, baggage systems, and structural steel. It enabled us to identify problems during the design process rather than during the construction phase, when addressing such issues typically costs a lot of time and money.

Decades of continuous service

Bechtel first teamed with the government of Dubai airport renovation and expansion in 1977 and has been at work ever since. More than 100 projects have been completed by Bechtel in the United Arab Emirates since 1962.

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