$ 20b Airport Projects Underway In UAE


Poised to become the world’s largest airport with the combined size of London’s Heathrow and Chicago’s O’Hare facilities, the $ 8.2 billion international airport is part of the $ 60 billion airport developments currently under way in the region, of which the UAE alone accounts for one-third of the spending.

The new airport — the centrepiece of the massive 140 square kilometre city taking shape at Jebel Ali — will have an initial capacity of five to seven million passengers and will achieve an optimum capacity for handling upto 150 million passengers when the entire project is completed, said Khalifa Al Zaffin, Director, Engineering Projects, Department of Civil Aviation, Dubai.

He said the 140-square-kilometre DWC development, which is designed to serve the emirate’s passenger and cargo air transportation needs until 2050 and beyond, handling over 120 million passengers and 12 million tonnes of cargo a year, will be employing more than one million people. The mega city will also be home to a population base of 600,000, he said.

The $ 6 billion first phase construction also comprises a massive cargo handling complex with an annual capacity of 12 million tonnes.

When fully on stream, Dubai World Central International Airport will be 10 times the size of Dubai International Airport and will have a passenger handling capacity of more than 120 million —more than the world’s busiest airport in Atlanta, which in 2004 handled 83.5 million.

A large part of funds for development of the first phase is coming from realty sale, he said while announcing the Airport Show which opens in Dubai next week. The event, the region’s only dedicated trade show for airport construction, operations and technologies, has grown by 25 per cent this year and, with more than 500 suppliers from 52 countries and an expected 5,000 visitors, will be Asia’s largest international airport industry exhibition.

Work on the airport’s first runway is due for completion. The 4.5 kilometre CAT III runway is designed to handle the new generation Airbus A380 aircraft and will enable the airport and Dubai Logistics City (DLC) to commence operations as the world’s largest freighter airport and logistics hub.

DLC, together with Jebel Ali Port and Free Zone and the airport, offers a proposition combining all transportation modes, logistics and value-added services, such as product manufacturing and assembly, in a single-bonded free zone environment.

The airport show, running from May 28-30 at the Airport Expo Dubai, features three major conferences, ‘Aviation Security Middle East’, ‘Air Traffic Control Middle East’ and ‘Ground Handling Middle East’ at which international experts will give insights into the issues affecting the aviation sector, said Laith Kubba, Director of Streamline Marketing Group, the event organisers. The event has grown by 25 per cent this year and, with more than 500 suppliers from 52 countries and an expected 5,000 visitors, will be Asia’s largest international airport industry exhibition, he said.

Apart from DWC, participants at the show include Qatar’s New Doha International Airport, which will be highlighting the $ 5.5 billion project to create a new aviation hub in the region. The Abu Dhabi Airports Company will also be present at the show to seek suppliers for its $ 6.8 billion expansion of Abu Dhabi International Airport. Other projects under the show spotlight include the $ 4.1 billion revamp of Dubai International Airport and the $ 4.8 billion expansion of the King Abdul Aziz International Airport in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Dubai Aerospace Enterprise (DAE), an investment vehicle designed to channel $ 15 billion into creating a global aerospace manufacturing and services corporation, will be attending to source suppliers.

Emirates Group will also have a major presence at the Airport Show this year. The Dubai government-owned group, which includes Emirates Airline, Dnata and Emirates SkyCargo, is the region’s largest aviation and airport ground handling operator. Procurement specialists intend to source new technologies and brief industry suppliers on equipment requirements for their existing operations at Dubai International Airport as well as for their future expansion needs.

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