• Wednesday, July 17, 2024
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BusinessDay

Dubai’s new airport to transport 260m passengers yearly

Paul Griffiths

Paul Griffiths, Dubai Airports CEO Paul has said a new $35 billion expansion of Al Maktoum International Airport will put the emirate on the map for the world’s best, biggest, and busiest air passenger terminal to transport 260 million travellers a year once completed.

In an interview with Al Arabiya English, Griffiths also said he envisioned the Middle East becoming an “increasingly important global hub” – thanks to mega-regional aviation expansion, including Saudi Arabia’s new airline Riyadh Air, and new airports in Riyadh and its giga project NEOM.

In April, Dubai approved blueprints for phase two expansion of Dubai World Central (DWC) – Al Maktoum International Airport, which envisages a state-of-the-art 21st-century airport with a capacity to handle 260 million passengers annually, and 12 million tonnes of cargo.

It will have 400 aircraft stands, five runways – of which four will operate independently – multiple terminals with satellite concourses, boasting of “breakthrough technology that will ensure a seamless experience with significantly reduced walking distances between curb and boarding gates,” Griffiths said.

It will be about five times the size of the current Dubai International Airport (DXB), which has consistently topped the list for the world’s busiest international airports for the last 10 years and is forecast to welcome 91 million passengers in 2024. DXB was the key to leading the global aviation sector’s post-pandemic recovery.

Once completed – over a 10-year timeframe – DWC aims to fully integrate Dubai International Airport’s operations, said Griffiths.

“Indeed, the plan is to move the entirety of operations at DXB to DWC, once the new airport is ready and has the required capacity to support the move,” he told Al Arabiya English. “Considering the size and capacity of the new airport, there will be no need or justification for us to operate and maintain two airports.”

“Over the next ten years, DWC is projected to have an annual capacity for up to 150 million passengers to accommodate the move from DXB, where passenger volumes are expected to reach 100 million in the next few years,” he added.

Griffiths further said: “By the time we move to DWC, we will be large enough in terms of traffic volume to justify the available capacity and the ongoing expansion of the new facility to its ultimate size of 260 million passengers per annum.”

Phase two of DWC will see the site expand to about 70 square kilometres, with advanced technology and airport experiences that currently don’t exist in the global aviation space, Griffiths said.

“At Dubai Airports, our goal is to delight our guests with unforgettable experiences, impeccable service, and genuine Arabian hospitality,” he said. “This ethos, which has made DXB a global benchmark, will be carried forward to Al Maktoum International Airport.”

“While it’s still too early to detail specific features of the new airport, it goes without saying that we will offer top-tier lounges, the widest variety of dining options to suit every taste and budget, and premium retail brands as commercial partners,” Griffiths further explained.

“Over the next decade, we will ensure that every aspect of the DWC experience reflects our dedication to comfort and guest satisfaction, reinforcing Dubai’s status as the premier global travel hub and destination of choice,” he said.