Dubai Airports has confirmed plans to carry out a comprehensive upgrade of the southern runway at Dubai International (DXB) in a bid to improve safety, service and capacity levels.

As a result, the southern runway 12R-30L will be closed while resurfacing and replacement of the airfield ground lighting and supporting infrastructure takes place from 16 April to 30 May 2019.

Nearly half of the normal flights could be grounded during the runway upgrade, which will force the airport’s capacity to be temporarily reduced.

All airlines have received advance notice from Dubai Airports to plan for the flight reductions and schedule planning.

“Dubai World Central (DWC) will serve as an alternative location during DXB’s upgrade to assist affected flight schedules, as well as chartered flights, cargo, and general aviation operations.”

Dubai Airports CEO Paul Griffiths said: “In the months ahead we will be working closely with Dubai Aviation Engineering Projects, airlines and other stakeholders to ensure we optimise service and capacity during this period next year and minimise the impact on our customers.”

As part of the southern runway refurbishment project, about 60,000t of asphalt and 8,000m³ of concrete will be placed to strengthen and resurface the runway and adjacent taxiways.

Upgrade works will also include installing 800km of cables and replacing more than 5,500 runway lights with environmentally friendly technology.

Dubai World Central (DWC) will serve as an alternative location during DXB’s upgrade to assist affected flight schedules, as well as chartered flights, cargo, and general aviation operations.

Currently, DWC is set to complete an expansion programme that will increase its capacity to 26 million passengers per year from the current five to seven million passengers.

In a separate development, 122 Automated Border Control SmartGates at the airport have gone live as part of a transformation programme which aims to offer a new border control experience to passengers and improve the immigration security process.

Designed by Vision-Box and Emaratech, the SmartGates can expedite passenger clearance at Dubai Airports’ borders and provide a fast self-service transaction through multi-biometric verification, sustained by passport, Emirates ID, and SmartGate cards authentication.