Dubai Airport embarks on US$7.8 bln expansion plan
Dubai Airports has committed to a US$7.8 billion airport expansion programme that will allow Dubai International to handle 90 million passengers annually by 2018.
The expansion plan for the airport, which now has capacity for 60 million passengers a year, is based on ten-year forecasts predicting a surge in traffic for Dubai International and the new Dubai World Central (DWC) airport – which currently only handles freight operations. International passenger numbers and cargo volume are expected to increase at an average annual growth rate of 7.2 percent and 6.7 percent respectively.
By 2020, 98.5 million passengers and over 4 million tonnes of freight are expected at the two airports, according to Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, chairman of Dubai Airports and president of the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority.
“The combination of rallying tourism, Dubai’s proximity to the emerging economies of India and China, and the emirate’s established role as a trading hub, [are] together expected to drive traffic growth and further elevate Dubai’s status as a global centre for aviation,” he says.
Expansion on the ground will include a new taxiway and a 60 percent increase in the number of aircraft stands. Concourse 3, which will increase passenger capacity to 75 million, is due for completion at the end of 2012. Beyond that, plans include additional terminal space and concourse areas covering 675,000 square metres.
This includes the expansion of Terminal 2 and the construction of a new concourse – Concourse 4 – which will be connected to Terminal 1. Baggage systems across the airport will be upgraded, with the addition of a remote baggage facility and high-speed baggage link.
Cargo capacity, meanwhile, will be boosted with a 30,000 square metre expansion of the existing cargo terminal. Dubai Airports Chief Executive Officer Paul Griffiths says cargo carriers and general aviation will be encouraged to gradually move to DWC to make room for increased passenger traffic at Dubai International.
Cargo operations were launched at DWC last year, in the first phase of development of what will be the world’s biggest airport, with five runways capable of handling 160 million passengers and 12 million tonnes of cargo per annum. Between 2018 and 2023, when construction is completed at Dubai International, phase two construction at DWC will escalate, with initial capacity for 80 million passengers per annum.