Dubai International Airport

Since it opened in 1960, passenger numbers at Dubai International Airport have grown and grown, on average by 15% a year.


Now serving more than 68.9 million people a year, flying them to over 260 destinations across 6 continents on more than 140 scheduled airlines, Dubai is now the world’s busiest airport surpassing London’s Heathrow and driving to become a serious international hub is unchallenged.

This kind of growth isn’t achieved by standing still. Dubai’s International Airport is in constant development and they need a dynamic and flexible partner to help them achieve this remarkable growth and keep pace with their international ambitions. WJ Groundwater have worked hand-in-hand with the airport’s management since 2002, delivering exactly this.

Our first contribution, over 13 years ago, saw us engaged with the building of Terminal 3, which is innovatively constructed below ground level with aircraft stands above. The huge construction works for the terminal required an excavation of plan size 420,000m2 by 25m depth, immediately adjacent to the existing terminal and control tower. The challenge was that all this was happening in water bearing granular soils. WJ successfully dewatered the area by devising a perimeter ring of deepwells which was extended progressively to suite the available site access and phasing of the works, without ever encroaching on the construction schedule.

Our design of the dewatering system was undertaken using a 3-D time dependent finite element hydro-geological model. This was calibrated using data from the progressive start-up of the dewatering system. Our analysis of the model’s output meant we could ensure a timely start-up of the wells to meet exactly the drawdown requirements of the phasing of the works.
Over a decade later, we are extremely proud to still be a valued and respected partner to Dubai International Airport, having successfully dewatering concourse D which opened in early 2016 in as the hub continues to grow. Handling a projected 90 million travelers by 2020, Dubai International is a dynamic and fast-growing airport that truly connects the world… and trust WJ to make sure they do.


  • LOCATION: Dubai, United Arab Emirates
  • CLIENT: Dubai Civil Aviation
  • MAIN CONTRACTOR: Al Naboodah Contracting

Project Scope

  • Airports
  • Basement
  • Basements
  • Building
  • Deepwell Dewatering
  • Excavations
  • Sand
  • Sandstone

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