Dubai approves $7.8bn plan

By Doug Newhouse |

Dubai Airports yesterday announced that His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates and the Ruler of Dubai, has endorsed its $7.8bn airport and airspace expansion programme aimed at expanding annual capacity at Dubai International from 60m to 90m passengers by 2018. Dubai Airports adds that increased commercial and retail income will fund the development of Dubai World Central in the long term.

In a statement, Dubai Airports said: “The plan, which was presented to HH Sheikh Mohammed at a high-level meeting held at Dubai International earlier this week, is designed to deliver aviation infrastructure which will support the continuation of the sector’s impressive growth, facilitate Dubai’s economic expansion and generate 22% of total employment and 32% of the emirate’s GDP by 2020. 

“It responds to a ten year traffic forecast for Dubai International (DXB) and Dubai World Central (DWC) that projects international passenger and cargo traffic will increase at an average annual growth rate of 7.2% and 6.7% respectively.

Commenting on the development, HH Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman of Dubai Airports and President of Dubai Civil Aviation Authority said: “The combination of rallying tourism, Dubai’s proximity to the emerging economies of India and China, and the emirates’ established role as a trading hub, is together expected to drive traffic growth and further elevate Dubai’s status as a global centre for aviation.

“By 2020, 98.5 million passengers and over four million tonnes of air freight will pass through our airports. The fleets and networks of Emirates and flydubai will grow considerably to accommodate traffic and capture market share. Similarly, our infrastructure must expand to enable this growth and facilitate the trade, tourism and commerce that in turn will support the prosperity of Dubai.”

The strategy includes aggressive expansion plans for airspace, airfield, aircraft stands and terminal areas at Dubai International over the remainder of the decade which will optimise investment, deliver timely capacity and create a robust revenue stream, fuelled by increased commercial and retail income, which will fund the development of Dubai World Central in the long term. 

Dubai Airports adds that within the local airport environment, airspace expansion plans focus on optimising runway capacity and implementing efficient systems and processes in order to accommodate and manage additional aircraft movements.

Beyond the vicinity of the airport itself, Dubai Airports is engaging national and regional civil aviation authorities and air navigation service providers to ensure that air routes are decongested, bottlenecks are reduced and latent airspace capacity is unlocked. 

It says next generation technology such as performance-based navigation and dynamic airspace management will be deployed over the coming years to harness the capabilities of modern fleets and increase airspace capacity.

Dubai Airports added: “As airspace opens up, additional aircraft movements will be accommodated on the ground with the addition of a new taxiway and a 60% increase in the number of stands needed to park and service aircraft. 

“Beyond Concourse 3, which will boost capacity to 75 million passengers when it is completed at the end of 2012, Dubai Airports will commission the construction of additional terminal space and concourse areas comprising an extra 675,000sqm of floor space – twice the footprint of London Heathrow Terminal 5. 

“This includes the expansion of Terminal 2 and the construction of a new concourse – Concourse 4 – which will be connected to Terminal 1 to facilitate check-in and baggage servicing.”

Additionally, Dubai Airports says it will upgrade baggage systems across the airport to accommodate demand over the life of the project. Plans include the construction of a remote baggage facility and a high-speed baggage link that will support ‘efficient and timely connections’. Cargo capacity will also be augmented with a 30,000sqm expansion of the cargo mega terminal.

Dubai Airports CEO Paul Griffiths said: “Our plan effectively responds to the need to accommodate rapid traffic growth with timely, efficient and high quality infrastructure. It recognises the need to match capacity with service quality. It augments our ability to provide quick and easy transfers that effectively solidify Dubai’s status as a hub that connects the world. And it optimises cash flow to fund future development.”

Griffiths added that in order to balance demand with capacity, cargo freighters and general aviation will be encouraged to gradually move to Dubai World Central to make room for increased passenger traffic at Dubai International. 

During 2018-2023, with construction completed at Dubai International, construction of Phase 2 of DWC will escalate with the initial iteration allowing for 80m passengers per year to facilitate the eventual relocation of the Emirates hub. Once fully completed, Dubai World Central will be the world’s largest airport with five runways and capacity for 160m passengers and 12m tonnes of cargo annually.

“This is another landmark moment in Dubai’s proud aviation history and sets us firmly on course to become the world’s busiest airport for international passenger traffic by 2015,” said Griffiths.



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