An airport with almost no flights and more staff than passengers is rarely a sign of success.
But such initial shortcomings will not stop senior aviation authorities in Dubai from continuing to bet on the success of the country’s master plan to build a massive airport south of Dubai.
Al Maktoum Airport, also known as Dubai World Central, currently operates a terminal meant to serve 5-7 million passengers annually; it hopes to grow to serve 130-160 million (depending on which forecast you read) within a decade. It has a long way to go to realize that target; the airport served just over 600,000 passengers for the first nine months of 2016.
At 4pm on a Monday afternoon in November, your author and his colleagues posed for photos in the middle of the street fronting the terminal. We were not worried about oncoming traffic; during the 15 minutes we spent taking pictures we saw no cars. I also took advantage of the luggage wrapping service inside the terminal, and learned I was the proprietor’s first customer in days.
The terminal is spacious, with gate areas that can accommodate hundreds of passengers each. But the travelers are simply not there yet. Ground staff outnumbered passengers on our flight, and from what we gleaned in conversations with them, that’s typical. More info