Smooth operation non-stop

It all started more than 10 years ago with a phone call from Qatar. Akbar Al Baker, CEO of Qatar Airways Group, orders several masts with lowering systems for apron lighting at Doha Airport. FUCHS Europoles supplies the poles to the Swiss company Nivatec, which builds the lowering systems and takes care of the entire process. This opens the door to the Middle East – and FUCHS Europoles has also landed in Dubai for a few years.

Combining the know-how of two companies

In the meantime, Nivatec has become the FUCHS Europoles subsidiary Europoles Suisse: The two companies merged in 2007 – since then the name NIVA has been the program for the highly developed and reliable products from Europoles Suisse. "We have been present at the international airport exhibition in Dubai every year since 2003," says Klaus Dengler, managing director at Europoles Suisse. In Doha, Qatar, the airport will be stocked and equipped again and again until 2010. "At that time we became, so to speak, the 'purveyors to the court' for Doha Airport," explains Dengler. When the new airport is built from 2008, FUCHS Europoles is already firmly in the saddle there.

Airport operations without interruptions

The goal was to make a name for itself in the Middle East and to equip other airports after Qatar with masts for lighting the apron. After all, airports are dynamic, globally active commercial enterprises that are currently expanding rapidly. The aprons of an airport in particular are an essential factor in this system. Everything has to go together smoothly: parking and manoeuvring, boarding and alighting, handling and supply – 24 hours a day. If an apron is not available, this costs the operator a lot of money. However, the safety of passengers, goods and aircraft technology can only be guaranteed in any weather if the aprons are optimally illuminated. All components, from the mast to the lamp, must therefore meet the highest requirements: They should be durable, easy to maintain and last as long as possible.

The quality of products and services is convincing

In recent years, FUCHS Europoles has not only convinced operators in Qatar of the quality of its products and services. "Projects in the Arab world speak for themselves, for example in Saudi Arabia or the United Arab Emirates," reports Dengler. With Dubai, the aim was to bring another global player in the airport sector on board. "There we had to convince the decision-makers again of our know-how. They first took a look at it with the others," Dengler remembers the early years.

International cooperation

In 2010 the time had come: Europoles Suisse was to supply 20 masts with a lowering system for the apron lighting for the planned new Airbus terminal at Dubai Airport. It takes just nine months from the award of the contract to the inauguration of the new terminal. The masts are transported from the FUCHS Europoles steel mast factory and the lowering devices from Mollis by the FUCHS Europoles subsidiary Europoles Suisse to Hamburg and from there shipped to Dubai. An international team assembles the individual parts on site – the coordination, however, always remains in the hands of Europoles Suisse. Verena Götz, Project Manager, is on site as a supervisor, trains the fitters and oversees the entire job.

Maintenance during flight operations

“What FUCHS Europoles offers is a way to lower equipment from its masts to maintenance personnel for maintenance or cleaning without having to interrupt ongoing flight operations. That convinced the airport operators," explains Götz. To do this, a guide carriage moves up and down on a rope-rail system mounted on the mast. The devices, regardless of whether they are lights, radio antennas or surveillance cameras, which are connected to the top of the mast, can be disconnected from the power supply by remote control. A special suspension device with a plug-in contact has been developed by FUCHS Europoles for this purpose. The necessary work can be done below. The guide carriage is then moved back up at the touch of a button, latches in and is supplied with power.

Safe and durable system

The advantages of the system: It can easily be maintained by one person in any weather, including wind; Special equipment such as a lifting platform or cherry picker is not required, nor is special training. “In addition, all the cables run inside the mast and are connected to the lights and digital components directly at the top via plug-in contacts. When driving up and down, not a single cable is moved. This guarantees a long service life for the cabling," explains Verena Götz. The cable for the carriage also runs in the mast and is guided outwards via a cable winch at the top of the mast in order to transport the carriage up and down the mast along the aluminum rail.

Masts and lights as a complete solution

Europoles Suisse has had a local branch in Dubai since 2014. The emirate plays a key role in the airport sector with its construction projects. "In this way, we can meet the requirements for customer proximity, coordination and service even better," Klaus Dengler describes the reasons for opening the office. Gradually, FUCHS Europoles would like to offer apron lighting as a complete package in the Middle East: retractable masts including sustainable LED lighting. After all, simple technical maintenance and the availability of the masts are just one aspect of efficient apron lighting.

LED – good luminosity, low energy consumption

The other are lights that offer optimal lighting conditions and consume as little energy as possible: Energy-efficient LED lights can be switched on and off independently of each other and dimmed steplessly at any time. Intelligent lens technology ensures that light only falls where it is needed. Light smog is a thing of the past. In addition, you save energy. Last but not least, LEDs have a much longer expected service life than conventional floodlights.

In 2017, Europoles Suisse will be retrofitting 200 masts at the airport in Qatar's capital, Doha, with LED lights. To do this, the lamps first had to be adapted to the local weather conditions and solar radiation. The lighting requirements in the Middle East are different from those in Europe, for example. The selected supplier develops and optimizes the lights as required.

All mast systems for a safe approach from a single source

In addition to airport lighting, FUCHS Europoles is also active in the field of approach and instrument landing systems (ILS). The pilot himself has the tact needed for a successful touchdown. However, the systems support him in advance by making the approach to the airport safer and more visible. Whether glide path end masts as a tripod construction, systems for localizer transmitters, monitor masts with tilting base plates or corrosion-resistant wind direction indicators – Europoles can produce and assemble all mast systems that are required for a safe approach.

Meets the highest safety standards

The special masts made of glass fiber reinforced plastic ensure a safe landing and meet the requirements for safety and durability like no other. FUCHS Europoles is one of the few manufacturers in the world to meet the "Frangibility" requirements of the international civil aviation organization ICAO: if there is a collision during take-off or landing, the poles snap over easily and without sparks. Different masts with a wide range of functions are therefore necessary in order to enable smooth non-stop flight operations – the goal of every airport. FUCHS Europoles has each of them in its product portfolio.


Location: Dubai
Execution period: May 2010 to January 2011

  • 20 solid steel masts
  • Air freight delivery of the anchor cages in order to complete the civil engineering beforehand
  • Delivery of the masts and lowering systems by ship with a total of eight containers
  • Provision of lights and obstruction lights by the customer
  • Height: 30 meters

Project: Concourse 3 DXB
Project participants: Dubai Airports, Hamad International Airport, ewo GmbH