Dubai outlines $7.8bn airport expansion plans

Capacity at DXB will reach 90 million passengers a year by 2018.
Dubai airports, NEWS, Aviation


A large-scale airport and airspace expansion programme has been outlined in Dubai, valued at US$7.8 billion, which will boost capacity at Dubai International Airport from 60 million to 90 million passengers a year by 2018.

Endorsed by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, vice-president and prime minister of the United Arab Emirates and the Ruler of Dubai, the plan responds to a 10-year traffic forecast for Dubai International (DXB) and Dubai World Central (DWC), which projects that international passenger and cargo traffic will increase at an average annual growth rate of 7.2% and 6.7% respectively.

“The combination of rallying tourism, Dubai’s proximity to the emerging economies of India and China, and the emirates’ established role as a trading hub, is together expected to drive traffic growth and further elevate Dubai’s status as a global centre for aviation,” said HH Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman of Dubai Airports and President of Dubai Civil Aviation Authority.

“By 2020, 98.5 million passengers and over four million tonnes of air freight will pass through our airports. The fleets and networks of Emirates and flydubai will grow considerably to accommodate traffic and capture market share. Similarly, our infrastructure must expand to enable this growth and facilitate the trade, tourism and commerce that in turn will support the prosperity of Dubai.”

Within the local airport environment, airspace expansion plans focus on optimising runway capacity and implementing efficient systems and processes in order to accommodate and manage additional aircraft movements.

As airspace opens up, additional aircraft movements will be accommodated on the ground with the addition of a new taxiway and a 60% increase in the number of stands needed to park and service aircraft.

Beyond Concourse 3, which will boost capacity to 75 million passengers when it is completed at the end of 2012, Dubai Airports will commission the construction of additional terminal space and concourse areas comprising an extra 675,000sqm of floor space – twice the footprint of London Heathrow Terminal 5. This includes the expansion of Terminal 2 and the construction of a new concourse - Concourse 4 – which will be connected to Terminal 1 to facilitate check-in and baggage servicing.

Additionally, Dubai Airports will upgrade baggage systems across the airport to accommodate demand over the life of the project. Plans include the construction of a remote baggage facility and a high-speed baggage link that will support efficient and timely connections. Cargo capacity will also be augmented with a 30,000sqm expansion of the cargo mega terminal.

“Our plan effectively responds to the need to accommodate rapid traffic growth with timely, efficient and high quality infrastructure,” explained Paul Griffiths, CEO of Dubai Airports. “It recognises the need to match capacity with service quality. It augments our ability to provide quick and easy transfers that effectively solidify Dubai’s status as a hub that connects the world. And it optimises cash flow to fund future development.”

Griffiths added that in order to balance demand with capacity, cargo freighters and general aviation will be encouraged to gradually move to Dubai World Central to make room for increased passenger traffic at Dubai International.

During 2018–2023, with construction completed at Dubai International, construction of Phase 2 of DWC will escalate with the initial iteration allowing for 80 million passengers per year to facilitate the eventual relocation of the Emirates hub. Once fully completed, Dubai World Central will be the world’s largest airport with five runways and capacity for 160 million passengers and 12 million tonnes of cargo annually.

“This is another landmark moment in Dubai’s proud aviation history and sets us firmly on course to become the world’s busiest airport for international passenger traffic by 2015,” said Griffiths.

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