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Giant airport downsizes; more delays possible

Runways at Al Maktoum International project drop from six to five.
The first flights from DWC may be delayed beyond June 2010.
The first flights from DWC may be delayed beyond June 2010.

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The CEO of Dubai Airports has told the Associated Press (AP) that the opening of Al Maktoum International – potentially the world’s largest airport – could see its first flight delayed even further than the June 2010 date slated earlier this year.

“The question we’re now asking is: when is the right time to open the new airport?” said Paul Griffiths, according to AP.   

"Rather than rush the opening ... we would rather take a longer time, get it absolutely right,” Griffiths added.

Al Maktoum International – part of the gigantic US$33 billion Dubai World Central project – will be designed to handle around 120 million passengers and 12 million tonnes of cargo a year.

Any new decision to pull back on the start date seems entirely reasonable. The airport had hoped to fly cargo services from the third quarter of this year, but the economic crisis has left international air cargo volumes in freefall.

With Dubai International Airport easily coping with the increasing throughputs in terms of freight and passengers, the need for the new airport is not currently as strong as it once was.

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