Introducing peak performance…
Dubai has introduced new procedures that look likely to reduce peak-time arrival delays by up to 40% at the world's busiest international airport. Alan Peaford reports.
With the likelihood of becoming the world’s busiest airport – it is already the most used international airport – Dubai has a responsibility to ensure that it also leads the way in environmental improvement.
Now Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, head of the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority (DCAA) and its air navigation services, as well as Emirates and Dubai Airports, has announced the implementation of an initiative called the approach peak offload (APO) procedure.
This is set to reduce CO2 emissions by up to 447 tonnes on a monthly basis and increase arrival traffic by an additional 1.6 aircraft per hour.
Mohammed A Ahli, director general of DCAA and CEO of Dubai Air Navigation Services (Dans) said: “We are committed to, and continuously striving to, transform the sky by developing and launching several key air traffic movement capacity enhancement projects in Dubai
“Developing and implementing innovative procedures, such as APO, have enabled us to deliver enhanced air traffic management services and accommodate the rising demand of our prestigious clientele. We have significantly invested our resources in thoroughly assessing the procedure in live operations through fast time and real time simulation exercises. This, in turn, has reinforced our efforts in building the safety case of the procedure, which has been approved for implementation by the General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA).”
Exclusively designed and developed by the Dans operations team, the APO procedure was created for the Dubai operational environment and is one of several solutions being implemented to drive further efficiency in the aviation sector as it increases the volume of air traffic movements, while reducing possible delay timings for airlines.
Since implementation, the APO procedure has reduced peak arrival delay for Dubai, which is proven to lead to fuel consumption and cost savings for the airlines.
The APO procedure is based on the possible re-allocation of lighter wake-producing category aircraft to runway 30R during arrivals peak periods, thus accommodating the arrival flow more efficiently with the use of both runways at Dubai International Airport.
One of the key components of this unique procedure permits lighter category aircraft to maintain a horizontal separation of 4.5nm behind the A380 super aircraft while landing. Experts at Dans reached the new wake separation minima levels between aircraft based on the results of the safety case, which included an in-depth quantitative and qualitative wake data analysis.
Saj Ahmad, chief analyst at StrategicAero Research said: “We’re seeing the fruits of that runway work come to the fore. Not only are we seeing better and speedier utilisation of DXB’s runway use, it is benefitting airlines who can now better schedule flights to leave/arrive closer to their published times, despite the fact that the airport is handling more passengers and flights than ever before.
“It means non-A380 aircraft can land faster and with possibly reduced separation, as they don’t create wake vortices behind them to the magnitude that the A380 does. This allows for faster runway clearance and taxi to the terminal, thereby allowing flights to land quicker in the queue behind.”
Ahmad said that the UAE Government could improve the procedures even further.
“As we know, almost 60% or more of the UAE airspace is dedicated for military use – so if runway and flight changes like this bring about a better degree of fluid and functional efficiency, imagine just how more efficient the system would be if the military airspace was diluted more in favour of commercial flights.
“Looking further out, when DWC becomes the main city airport, these airspace allocation, runway use and aircraft separation minima has to be matched with a sizeable growth in commercial airspace allowance too – otherwise Dubai runs the risk of simply shifting congestion from one airport to the other.”