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Strategic position drives Fujairah growth

Posted 27 September 2018 · Add Comment

Fujairah, one of the Gulf’s less well-known airports, is improving its facilities as it undergoes a substantial modernisation that will enhance its prospects for years to come. Alan Dron reports.

A major programme to improve facilities is getting under way at Fujairah International Airport (FIA) to help support the economic development of the emirate.
Abu Dhabi Airports (ADAC), in partnership with Egypt’s Orascom Construction, and Al Sahraa General Transport & Clearance Abu Dhabi, is pushing forward with the FIA expansion programme in collaboration with Fujairah’s Department of Civil Aviation.
Under a 2014 agreement, ADAC takes the lead in FIA’s expansion. It lent its resources to Fujairah during the planning stage of the FIA project and will also manage the construction phase.
According to local reports, the project value is AED661 million ($180 million).
FIA is largely a cargo airport; Fujairah is the only one of the UAE’s seven constituent emirates situated on the Indian Ocean coast and has a major seaport close to the airport that allows vessels access to the UAE market without having to transit the busy Straits of Hormuz.
Opened in 1987, FIA has a notably good weather record and is used as a diversionary airport when fog affects operations at larger facilities such as Dubai and Abu Dhabi.
It also has extensive aircraft maintenance facilities and is home to a flying school.
The terminal has a 2 million annual passenger capacity but, at the time of writing, there were no scheduled passenger services.
A small number of charter services operate into the airport and it is hoped these will increase as the emirate expands its hotel capacity. The emirate is well known in the scuba-diving world for its offshore waters.
The centrepiece of the expansion programme will be the extension of FIA’s sole runway – Rwy 11/29. Currently 3,750 metres, the project will see a 900 metre extension to the runway’s eastern end, of which 700 metres will be designated as a runway extension, with 200 metres as a taxiway, said Mohamed Al Salami, chairman of Fujairah’s Department of Civil Aviation.
The programme is designed to improve aircraft performance when departing westwards towards the Hajjar Mountains, giving them the ability to carry larger payloads.
As part of the expansion, a new parallel taxiway – 3,050 metres long, 45 metres wide and equipped with airfield lighting system – will be constructed. The taxiway will be built to runway standards so that, while the main runway is being improved, the airport will remain operational throughout the works.
Once the main runway enhancement is completed, the shorter strip will revert to service as a parallel taxiway.
The addition of a taxiway will mean that aircraft do not have to backtrack along the main runway for take-off or after landing, improving FIA’s operational efficiency by maximising runway movements. It will act as a contingency runway for emergencies.
Additional upgrades include the replacement of existing airfield ground and approach lighting systems, a new air traffic control (ATC) tower and air traffic management systems along with other associated infrastructure works.
The new ATC tower and its administrative building is destined to become the iconic image of FIA. The 47 metre-high tower will be constructed in the form of a falcon with its wings folded. The visual control room will face the north, providing excellent visibility over the entire airport, noted Al Salami. Situated in the centre of the airport, its height will make it visible from a considerable distance.
The expansion project includes a 5,300sqm hangar, a 39,700sqm concrete-paved apron, a primary electrical sub-station of 50 MVA capacity, a new airfield rescue and fire-fighting facility sub-station, an ‘energy complex’ feeding services to ATC, and all required underground ducting network for the utilities.
In recognising Fujairah’s strategic location and taking into account factors such as its increasing population, tourism growth, air cargo operations and breadth of industrial and commercial development, further improvements on the south side of the airport may include an airport free zone as well as hangars, warehousing, workshops and offices for existing and future service industries.
 

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