By Ivan Gale www.thenational.ae
Dubai’s newest airport and the future home of Emirates Airline has delayed the opening of its passenger terminal from March until the end of the year.
Al Maktoum International Airport, which opened for cargo flights last summer, has pushed back the opening of passenger flights “until at least the fourth quarter of 2011,” Dubai Airports said yesterday. “It remains under review.”
The airports company is juggling the development plans of Dubai International, which will serve the emirate’s aviation needs for another 10 to 20 years, and Al Maktoum International, which will eventually serve as the home for Emirates and the more than 100 other airlines flying into Dubai.
The first development phase of Al Maktoum International includes one runway, a cargo terminal with capacity of 250,000 tonnes per year, and a passenger terminal able to handle up to five million passengers a year.
Ultimately, the airport, located in Jebel Ali, is slated to become the largest airport in the world once it is fully complete around 2025-2030, with five runways, four terminal buildings and capacity to handle 160 million passengers each year, and 12 million tonnes of cargo.
Al Maktoum International is part of a larger master-development called Dubai World Central (DWC).
Dubai Airports did not disclose the cause of the delays, although the company has in recent years sought to maximise the use of existing facilities before embarking on costly greenfield projects such as DWC.
“DWC is and has always been a long-term solution to the capacity expansion plans for Dubai,” Dubai Airports said. “The focus for the next decade will continue to be Dubai International to accommodate the incredible growth we have been experiencing. That includes the construction of Concourse 3 and other facility enhancements designed to boost our capacity from the current 60 million passengers per year to 90 million by 2018.”