Mumbai: To further secure its position as the world’s aviation hub, Dubai Airports is building a whopping USD 32—billion greenfield airport at the upcoming Dubai World Central, 30 km off the present international airport which already is the second busiest in the world.
The proposed new airport will become the world’s largest aviation facility on completion and will have five runways which all will be simultaneously operational, all A380-compatible with a length of 4.5 km each.
“We are planning a USD 32—billion brand new airport at the Dubai World Central at Al Maktoum, 30 km off the present Dubai facility. In the first phase, the new airport will be able to handle 120 million passengers, which will go up to 200 million by 2020, when the project is completed,” Dubai Airports Corporate Communications Head Julius Baumann told media.
“On completion, the new airport will be the world’s largest airport, with each concourse the size of seven football fields and have five runways which all will be simultaneously operational, all A380-compatible,” Mr. Baumann said.
The other features include 200 aircraft stands for wide bodied aircraft, four concourses connected via six airport trains to two terminals, which in turn will be linked to the city’s metro network. When complete, the mega-hub will have total annual capacity exceeding 200 million passengers and 12 million tonne of freight.
The existing Al Maktoum International opened its doors to passengers on October 27, 2013 and three airlines are operating from here. It has one A380 capable runway, 64 remote stands, one cargo terminal with annual capacity for 250,000 tonne and a fully operational passenger terminal building designed to accommodate 5 million passengers annually.
The Dubai International Airport is the world’s second busiest airport after the London Heathrow and is on course to become the global aviation hub, thanks to its geographical location and the availability of cheap fuel.
The first phase of the new airport includes a single A380 compatible runway, a passenger terminal with capacity of 5 million passengers which is expandable to 7 million; a cargo terminal with a capacity of 250,000 tonne per annum and expandable to 600,000 tonne and a 92-metre air traffic control tower.
The state-owned Dubai Airports already operates the Dubai International Airport in the heart of the Arabian megapolis and the Al Maktoum International Airport at the upcoming Dubai World Central (DWC).
The DWC is a 140 sq km new international city being built to de-congest the present city, Dubai Airports’ Marketing & Corporate Communications Manager Zaigham Ali said, adding the work on new airport will begin early next year.
Apart from the new airport plan, the Emirate is also expanding the Dubai International Airport with a USD 7.8 billion investment to take the capacity to 100 million by 2020. This project was started in 2011 and will be completed by 2016.
The expansion of the Dubai International include a new concourse (Concourse D), expansion of Terminal 2 to twice its current capacity, refurbishment of Terminal 1, and additional aircraft stands, taxiways and aprons among others.
Dubai International, Mr. Baumann said handled 66.43 million passengers in 2013, and has being growing 15.5 per cent per annum since its launch in 1960. In 2013, it was named the second busiest airport in the world after the London Heathrow.
Mr. Ali said India is the largest source market for the airport, with an airline network that connects Dubai with 18 cities in the country.
In 2013, the airport saw a 14.3 percent increase in passenger numbers from India at 8.5 million and in the first 9 months of this year, the number has already crossed 7 million.
Mr. Ali added the company is confident of crossing the last year’s mark this year.
Explaining the rationale for a gigantic new airport, Mr. Baumann said the airport’s forecast figures for unconstrained passenger traffic show 126 million passengers by 2020, and 300 million passengers by 2050.
Additionally, the Terminal 2 will double in capacity by 2015. Concourse D of the airport, slated to open by mid 2015, will provide for 100 more aircraft and taking the figure up to 80 million passengers.
In all, the expansion projects will take the airport’s passenger capacity to a little over 100 million passengers, Mr. Ali said.
With a built-up area of 1,972,474 sqm, the Dubai International Airport comprises three terminals and ranks among the world’s top two busiest airports for international passengers, serving over 125 airlines flying to over 260 destinations, as per the Airports Council International.
On the economic impact of the aviation sector in Baumann, quoting an Oxford Economics report said, aviation will contribute USD 53.1 billion to Dubai’s economy, which is 37.5 per cent to its GDP and will support over 750,000 jobs by the turn of 2020.
The aviation sector as a whole contributed USD 26.7 billion to the Dubai economy in 2013, which was almost 27 per cent of the national GDP and supported 416,500 jobs accounting for 21 per cent of the Emirates’ total employment.
Passenger traffic in September totalled 5,942,628 compared to 5,407,326 recorded in the same month last year, an increase of 9.9 per cent. January—September rose 6.2 per cent to 52,422,547, up from 49,379,165, while in 2013, the passenger traffic stood 66,431,533, up 15.2 per cent from 2012.