DUBAI – Dubai-owned airline Emirates could put off its relocation to Al Maktoum International Airport by as long as 10 years, its president said in remarks published on Wednesday, in the latest setback for the much-delayed mega-airport.
Tim Clark said the airline has had a “rethink” and is now eyeing a move to the new airport between 2022 and 2030, UAE daily the National reported, adding that it had initially planned to relocate between 2018 and 2020.
“We have refocused here [at Dubai International Airport],” Clark was quoted as saying. “With a certain amount of investment here, you can get a lot more out of this airport.”
The move is a huge blow for Al Maktoum International as the main reason for building the airport was to cater for the expansion of Emirates. One of the airport’s three passenger terminals will be dedicated to Emirates.
First cargo flights will begin from Al Maktoum International in June, but the airport’s operator Dubai Airports Co has stopped committing to a definite date for passenger operations after several setbacks.
Cargo flights had initially been due to take off from the airport in mid-2008 and there had been concern the airport would miss its revised June 2010 completion date. The launch of passenger operations were due to start more than a year late in mid 2010.
The final completion date for the $10 billion airport has been extended by several years past 2020.
Al Maktoum International will eventually have five runways, reduced from an original six, with a capacity of 160 million passengers a year, making it the largest airport in the world.