United Arab Emirates |

Dubai Airport – Pipe Jacking under the Taxiway during Flight Operations

Dubai International Airport is the hub of air traffic in the Persian Gulf: nearly 90 million international passengers are handled here each year. The operators are constantly investing in capacity expansion. As part of Dubai International Airport Expansion Phase 3, during ongoing flight operations a Herrenknecht micromachine (AVND2400AB) excavated three sections for a new stormwater drainage tunnel under the taxiway.

The safe and precise crossing under airport taxiways and runways is one of the supreme disciplines of mechanized tunnelling – especially when flight operations cannot be interrupted. Heave, settlement or other impairment of this highly sensitive infrastructure must be avoided at all costs. The tunnelling crew from International Foundation Group, working for Dubai Aviation Engineering Projects under the project management of M.A. Kharafi & Sons, relied on Herrenknecht tunnelling technology to extend the stormwater drainage system at Dubai Airport. In March 2019, they celebrated the successful completion of the project.

Using the pipe jacking method, an AVN machine (AVND2400AB, Ø 3025 mm) mastered the challenge of three drives of 610, 765 and 825 m respectively under the taxiway. The result is a new drainage tunnel with a total length of 2200 m, which increases the airport‘s drainage capacity. At depths of 13 to 15 m, the micromachine crossed under the Terminal 2 taxiways while flight operations on the ground and in the air continued smoothly. On the longest drive an average of 15 m of tunnel per day were excavated through soft soils with sandstone and siltstone. The drive remained exactly on course by precise process and control technology from VMT.

The new pipelines will efficiently collect and drain away rainwater, especially during heavy downpours, so it can no longer accumulate on the surface. This is crucial to maintaining smooth flight operations. With close to 90 million passengers per year, Dubai International Airport is one of the busiest airports in the world.


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