By Nadia Saleem, Staff Reporter www.gulfnews.com
Dubai: The opening of the Dubai World Central Al Maktoum International Airport passenger terminal has been delayed by eight months while new expansions are being planned, a top official said.
Shaikh Ahmad Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, President of Dubai Civil Aviation and Chairman of Dubai Airports, said yesterday at the opening of Middle East Business Aviation (Meba) show that “there will be huge expansions taking place at the airport” which will be announced soon.
He did not clarify why the launch of the passenger terminal has been delayed from the March 2011 target.
Cargo operations began last June from the first terminal after one runway was completed and certified.
Currently 17 cargo airlines are operating from the airport.
Dubai World Central (DWC), a $33 billion (Dh121.11 billion) aerotropolis, will be the world’s largest urban development project, consisting of the biggest airport, a logistics city, an aviation services city, residential and commercial projects.
Meanwhile, construction is still continuing at the Dubai International Airport Concourse 3, allowing expansion for the airport’s flagship carrier — Emirates — until all airlines are ready to move to the new airport.
“We believe that this sector is going to prosper either by air movement or by maintenance. For the last five years, the whole sector is growing really fast and you can see that through this exhibition,” Shaikh Ahmad said.
Additionally, DWC saw its first client for the Aviation City, yesterday after it signed up with Al Futtaim Services Company, that will offer general aviation services such as business jet charter, aircraft maintenance and aircraft management in a joint venture with European jet operator DC Aviation.
The Al Futtaim Services Company facility is expected to be launched in the third quarter of 2011. It will occupy more than 6,000 square metres — the first Fixed Base Operation (FBO) at DWC.
When completed, Dubai World Central-Al Maktoum International Airport will be the biggest airport in the world with five runways, four terminal buildings and a capacity to handle 160 million passengers and 12 million tonnes of cargo.
Initially, it will operate one A380 capable runway, 64 remote stands, one cargo terminal with an annual capacity of 250,000 tonnes of cargo and a passenger terminal building designed to accommodate five million passengers per year as part of Phase 1.