Weird Approach Strategies at OMDB

I’ve seen this when I’m watching aircraft inbound from OMDB on FR24. Every aircraft does some fancy approach when arriving at the airport. Here’s a few examples:

Anyone have any ideas as to why they do it this way?

I’m not an expert, but maybe traffic concerns?

They do this due to the high traffic if I’m not mistaken. When I approached dubai,the plane i was in was exactly vectored like the bottom photo. I Also think it’s to space the aircraft out evenly

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That first one is so cool! When i used to make my flight plan to fly to OMDB, I was confused as it looked like it was trying to double pattern me, when in reality it was actually simulating the real life approach!


Yeah the top picture is so that they can get some spacing in between aircraft. You will actually see IFATC use this strategy a lot to give more space for depatures and more space between aircraft arriving. You will see it at almost all airport that are busy

The bottom one is an aircraft arriving from the Northwest is easier and faster to just bring over the airport at like 7,000 or 8,000 feet and then have them turn in to intercept.


A lot of European airport STAR plates have published “S” approaches. They’re a lot of fun to do. :)


The 2nd picture is also a common approach for flights arriving for the Northeast, West, and North at SFO… Most of the time, the planes will stop at 10,800 ft. and cross the airport before decreasing altitude again and turning. That might be how it works at OMDB too, it is just an approach path used for traffic probably


this is the chart for the first picture and i have used this approach many times in IF


We use that in Infinite Flight a lot. :)


Yes, I am flying that when I approach Dubai in IF.

Also, it’s to keep planes at a higher altitude closer to the airport due to the concern of ground based artillery/munitions. The area around the airport can be more greatly secured, so you bring the planes low when they get closer

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Idk, but an Atc controller had me do the first one once.

Very nice to see these strategies. There are not as weird as you may think; they exist to handle the flow of traffic, control altitude, etc. And as mentioned we do use approach strategies just about always in IF. Crossing the airport’s center to ‘switch over’ aircrafts to an area with better terrain is quite common.

Thanks for sharing this.

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It’s a very unique approch and i like that

ground based artillery/munitions in dubai?


On the many occasions I have landed at Bangkok-Suvarnabhumi, they have had approaches like the first one in place as well - upwind, downwind, base, final - but often alongside the airport. If it’s clear it means you can get great views of the airfield whichever side you are sitting on 😃

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Yes i have done that too

There isn’t any. These SIDS and STARS is apart of Dubai Air Navigation Services effort to maximise the limited airspace in the UAE, in the last 8 years Dubai as seen a 50% increase in capacity thanks to these and other efforts. It’s actually a really interesting read to those interested about the advances in technology such as how they can minimise separation behind A380’s on approach.

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This is similar to Hong Kong, where I’ve noticed that flights from the North, mainly from the US and Europe will extend down south over the bay past Macau then do a curved turn back to the north as they descend and land on RWY 07L, even if their gate are more easily accessible landing on RWY 07R, but that’s because 07R handles all the takeoffs. Now I’m not a expert on HKG, but that airport directs all inbound flights, even those from Asia to fly curved over the bay and on to RWY 07L.

When the runways are swapped. They still use 25L for departure and 25R for landing. And by doing so, they lessen on congestion both in the air and ground. Flights with a gate closer to RWY 07L/25R needs taxi longer to get to their gate which allows for long queues to not build up and also the inbound traffic flow is always steady as they also sometimes needs to taxi longer causing free space for the next flight to vacate and not some odd line up for flight that need to taxi to parking.

I would believe the same goes for Dubai, to maintain distance and minimize congestion of flights in the sky mainly. Dubai is one the worlds busiest flight with one flight landing in less than every minute, that’s a bunch of traffic inbound. And during peak times this gets dangerous as controllers need to space the aircraft especially those A380 Emirates owns so many of. Similarly to how sometimes IFATC controls planes in overcrowded airspace’s in IF, they use of these snake like curved approaches due to the high amount of incoming traffic. Then again I’m not a expert on Dubai nor their STARS or SIDS, but they could be playing a role here as to why the flights follow this particular patten during approach.

But in the end it’s a matter of approach tactics each airport uses. Even some may use these for departure to avoid collisions. Having a S shaped arrival or U shaped one, gives the controller more time to handle other aircraft in their radar and this gives the aircraft safe distance as well. And to not clog up the sky with hold patterns during busy times this also gives the pilot more time to descend and plan more carefully, which good when coming into a massively busy airport such as Dubai or even Hong Kong, although Hong Kong usually practices a 360 degree turn during very high volume of arrivals, this is due to them having to consider mountain ranges, and traffic to nearby airports such as Shenzhen and Guangzhou. But this doesn’t apply for Dubai and neither for Beijing which also uses a similar tactic as DXB.

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