1970 – 1980
In November 1970 an additional Pound Sterling 2.7 million contract was finalised for the reconstruction of the runway, a new taxiway and the installation of new airfield lighting. Work on the runway and taxiway was commenced in December 1970. All runway work plus the greatly improved lighting system was completed by the end of November 1971. Most importantly, this major reconstruction, including resurfacing the whole of the original runway, was carried out without any traffic diversions. The runway project included a 3,300 feet Eastern extension of concrete which was completed on 25th June 1971 and work on the strengthening and concrete overlaying of the Western end was commenced. This work was completed on 22nd November 1971 and the full length of 12,500 feet runway and taxiways were brought into use.
At the same time the new precision Category 2 approach and runway lighting system were commissioned. The construction of the airport fire station and the installation of generators were completed in December and were fully operational in March 1972. The resting of the ILS glide path, associated markers and the navigation direction building were also carried out and were back in full operation by this time.
The new international air terminal building, apron and link taxiway were officially opened by Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum, the then Ruler of Dubai, on May 15, 1971. A squadron of RAF Hunters gave an impressive air display. The completion of this project allowed Dubai International to accept Jumbo and Concorde services with the terminal capable of handling 1,200 people in air-conditioned comfort.
The formation of the Department of Civil Aviation on 18 March 1971 was another indication of the increasing importance of Dubai as a major aviation centre. The Department was made responsible for the granting of traffic rights and operating permission to airline operators.
At the end of December 1971, the Dubai Air Traffic Control Unit assumed the responsibility for the 23 miles radius control zone. Sheikh Rashid inaugurated the long-range surveillance system on June 19, 1973. A first among the AGCC countries, it demonstrated the airport’s concern for the safety of passengers and aircrafts.
The increase in aircraft movements each year created a growing need for aircraft parking space and to meet this need the main apron was extended eastwards in 1973 and a further extension, also eastwards, was constructed in 1976. A new taxiway link with runway 30 was completed in 1977.
With the expansion and modernisation of the Airport Fire Services it was necessary to find more suitable accommodation. Therefore a hangar style building was made available at the end of 1976. A new building was also constructed to house the airport maintenance engineer, electronics engineering section and stores unit. Expansion of the airport restaurant and transit lounge including the refurbishment of the upper level and the provision of a new kitchen were completed in December 1978.
Taxiway ‘Bravo’, which was not included in the original runway reconstruction layout, was, nevertheless, in constant use and, because of this, it was necessary to strengthen the pavement to meet the needs of large aircraft. The reconstruction of this taxiway was completed in 1979.
1980 – 1990
Repairs to the runway extension were carried out in February and March 1981, which involved 965 metres of asphalt overlay commencing at the threshold of runway 12. This work was completed 50 days ahead of schedule and the project also included the installation of CATI approach lighting and an advanced instrument landing system to serve runway 12.
Six new taxiways, including three for high-speed turn off operation, were incorporated into the design of the new runway. Within the scope of this phase of development was the construction of two new Fire Stations, a network of access roads for security and operational vehicles and the laying of underground cables for telephone and remote systems.
The next phase of development was the second runway, which was completed three months ahead of schedule and opened in April 1984. Located in parallel, approximately 360 metres north of the existing runway, the runway was equipped with the latest meteorological, airfield lighting and instrument landing systems to give the airport a Category II classification.
On 23rd December 1980 Dubai International joined the International Civil Airports Association as an ordinary member.
A Master plan for the development of the Airport over a 10-year period completed Phase 1 at the end of October 1980. This included the construction of four secure lounges with a capacity of 400 passengers each, the latest security devices, luggage X-Ray equipment and walkthrough detectors, a new medical centre with direct access for ambulances.
Additional apron parking for four Boeing 747’s complete with hydrant refuelling system, extra flood lights, a new 1.5-km taxiway also including a taxiway widening programme, additional hardstand area for aircraft handling services, a building to house the mechanics, porters, cleaners, Marshallers and a new cooling unit for the air conditioning system in the terminal building were also part of the project.
The construction of a new catering building capable of providing 12,000 meals per day was completed during 1980. The airport car park was enlarged to accommodate additional 350 vehicles, and was opened to public at the end of July 1982.
Renovation and improvements to the main level of the existing terminal building included a bank, post office, information centre, public telex and telephone services, Arabic culture exhibition, computer room, snack bar and lounge area. These facilities were completed and in use in March 1984.