By Tamara Walid www.arabianbusiness.com
Dubai Airports, the company overseeing airport projects in the emirate, expects a 48 percent rise in cargo traffic by 2015, partly due to improving economic conditions, it said on Tuesday.
Cargo tonnage, handled at Dubai International Airport and the new Dubai World Central Al Maktoum International (DWC), which will open later this year, will reach 3 million tonnes by the end of 2015, from 1.9 million in 2009, the company’s chief executive officer Paul Griffiths told reporters.
Freight volumes are expected to rise 12.2 percent this year, he said.
The emirate will become a two airport city on June 27 when DWC, planned to be the world’s largest airport upon completion, begins operations.
The new airport will start by handling cargo first, with an initial capacity of 250,000 tonnes per year, expandable to 600,000 tonnes.
Dubai International Airport has the capacity for 2.5 million tonnes of freight a year.
In a statement, Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed al Maktoum, chairman of Dubai Airports, said: “Dubai International remains our hub. However … our projections for 98 million passengers by 2020 clearly shows the need for a new airport.”
Aviation accounts for about 25 percent of Dubai’s GDP, Sheikh Ahmed added.
DWC will be open to passenger flights by the end of March 2011, Griffiths said. Upon completion, the new facility will be able to handle 160 million passengers and 12 million tonnes of cargo. Completion of the project is estimated to take 10-15 years.
The new facility will have five runways, instead of six as originally planned, said Griffiths.
He said: “We found operationally that we could get more capacity from five than six runways by spacing them further away from each other.”
He added: “We will be investing between $8.2 to $10.9 billion in the project.”
Griffiths said the emirate aims to capture increasing market share from Europe, Asia and other global hubs.
Dubai and Abu Dhabi, both part of the UAE, control 40 percent of regional capacity at their airports. Dubai is the Middle East’s trade and tourism hub.
In the first quarter, the emirate handled 11.4 million passengers, up 20.4 percent from a year ago.
Dubai International is the fourth largest airport globally for highest international passenger traffic volumes, Dubai Airports said. (Reuters)