Al Maktoum to become world’s largest airport


By Abdul Basit

DUBAI — Al Maktoum International, Dubai’s second international air hub, is designed to be the world’s largest airport when it is fully completed.

Dubai Airports, which owns and manages the operation and development of both of Dubai’s airports — Dubai International as well as the newly-opened Dubai World Central — Al Maktoum International, is celebrating golden jubilee of Dubai International today.

Dubai joined an elite group of two-airport cities when commercial cargo flights of Rus Aviation, Skyline and Aerospace Consortium landed at Dubai World Central’s Al Maktoum International airport on July 1.

His Highness Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of officially inaugurated the first phase of 140-square kilometre Dubai World Central (DWC) development in July in the presence of Dubai Crown Prince Shaikh Hamdan bin Mohammed and other senior government officials.

It will have five runways, four terminal buildings and capacity for 160 million passengers and 12 million tonnes of cargo. Al Maktoum International, the centrepiece of the $33 billion Dubai World Central (DWC) project, is set for official opening for passenger traffic in March 2011.

Work on the first passenger terminal, a facility that’s about twice the size of Dubai International Airport’s Terminal 2, is in the final stages and is expected to be completed by March 2011. “The planning date is spring of 2011 and we are looking at the end of March for the start of passenger flights,” Andrew Walsh, DWC’s Vice-President for Cargo and Logistics, has been quoted as saying.

The first phase of the project will feature one A380-capable runway, 64 remote stands, one cargo terminal with annual capacity for 250,000 tonnes of cargo and a passenger terminal building designed to accommodate five million passengers per year when it goes full swing next year.

The DWC is an ambitious project whose goal is to position the emirate as a leading international trade centre and a global logistics hub. It occupies an area of 140 square kilometres in Jebel Ali, next to the UAE’s largest free zones (JAFZA) and the Jebel Ali Sea Port, the sixth largest container terminal in the world. In addition to the dedicated link to Jebel Ali Sea Port, it features links to all major UAE motorways and to Dubai World Central-Al Maktoum International Airport.