Dubai’s audacious new US$82B airport on track

Despite the current economic downturn, work on Dubai’s Al Maktoum International Airport, formerly known as the Jebel Ali International Airport, continues apace with the first commercial flight expected to kick off operations by middle of this year.

The first of six runways has been completed and work on cargo terminals and logistics facilitiesis proceeding rapidly.

Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Dubai World Central’s chairman, highlighted the significance of the new runway at its opening, in which he said the new runway “signals the advent of a new era in Dubai’s aviation and transportation history”.

The airport, named after the late Sheikh Maktoum bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the former ruler of Dubai, is being built on a total dedicated land area of almost twice the size of Hong Kong Island. It will be the main part of Dubai World Central (DWC), a planned residential, commercial and logistics complex scheme.

“Upon completion, it will be the world’s largest airport, bigger than London’s Heathrow and Chicago’s O’Hare combined,” says Michael Proffitt, CEO of Dubai Logistics City.

The first phase of the airport project will see its cargo terminal initially handle 700,000 tonnes of cargo per annum. By 2013 it is expected to become the largest of its kind in the tonnes of cargo annually.

At the heart of this huge new Al Maktoum International Airport, is a plan to make it the world’s largest passenger and cargo hub, 10 times larger than Dubai International Airport and Dubai Cargo Village combined.