Dubai International Airport has recorded its 18th consecutive month of handling more than five million passengers despite the refurbishment of two runways, which resulted in a 26% reduction in flights during May and June this year. 

First-half passenger traffic increased 6.2% to 34.67 million despite the runway work, which included resurfacing the northern runway, as well as other modifications to accommodate forecast traffic growth, and the addition of new high-speed turnoffs to the southern runway to boost capacity.

Dubai Civil Aviation Authority DG and CEO of Dubai Air Navigation Services (DANS) Mohammed Abdulla Ahli said the 80-day project “required complex and meticulous planning,” resulting in average delays during the period of less than five minutes.

DANS is an independently managed air navigation services provider, supplying air traffic control, electronic engineering and meteorology services at both Dubai International and Al Maktoum International at Dubai World Central.

The runway refurbishment work at Dubai International will help the airport handle traffic that has been growing between 5% and 7% annually, compared to the global average of 3.5%. 

The airport currently has four peak hours each day, when aircraft arrivals reach 33 an hour.  DANS aims to increase this to 45 an hour by 2016 as part its 10-year strategy plan.

A number of projects are currently on the drawing board that would enable DANS to decongest and restructure airspace that has been labeled as one of the most congested in the world and a potential constraint to future growth. The UAE airspace system currently handles approximately 600,000 movements a year, but by 2025 will need to be able to accommodate an anticipated 1.2 million movements a year.