Dubai to expand Al Maktoum airport to overtake Dubai International and handle 240 million passengers per year

Dubai already has a huge airport, Dubai International, which overtook Heathrow as the busiest airport in the world for international passenger traffic. Now Dubai is to build an every larger airport,  expanding Al Maktoum International, which might cost some £19.8 billion and would be the largest airport in the world.  It will cover an area of over 200 square kilometres (not a problem with lots of spare desert). It would be built in the desert, not affecting many people. Dubai wants the airport to handle 240 million passengers per year, compared to around 70 million at Heathrow now, and about 230 million for all UK airports.  The plan is to build it is two phases. The first would take 6 – 8 years,up to 120 million passengers  per year. The British government, and people like Boris, have a macho horror of some other country having an airport larger than we have. There is a dread of confronting reality, that Heathrow will need to decline, comparatively, against the Middle East. The UK is no longer in the right geographical location to remain the world’s largest hub. The world is moving on.  Trying to out-do Dubai, where everything is entirely different, and to the great detriment of people living in the crowded south east of England, is a mug’s game.


Dubai to Expand Al Maktoum International Airport

September 9, 2014
Courtesy of Dubai Airports.

US$32 billion project will create biggest hub in the world, Dubai Airports says

Dubai will spend US$32 billion to expand its Al Maktoum International Airport at Dubai World Center. The announcement was made by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, vice president and prime minister of the UAE and ruler of Dubai.

Emirates Airline will move its international hub from Dubai International to the new facility by the mid-2020s.

“With limited options for further  growth at Dubai International, we are taking that next step to securing our future by building a brand new airport that will not only create the capacity we will need in the coming decades but also provide state of the art facilities that revolutionise the airport experience on an unprecedented scale,” Paul Griffiths, CEO of Dubai Airports and operator of Al Maktoum International, said in a statement.

The facility should become the biggest hub in the world, Griffiths said. When completed, the facility will be able to accommodate 200 million passengers each year.

The project will be built in two phases and cover an area of 56 square kilometers.

The first phase of construction will include two new terminals to handle 120 million passengers per year and runways large enough for 100 Airbus A380 planes at any one time.

Work on the project is expected to start soon and the first phase is scheduled to be completed in six to eight years.



Wikipedia says:

Dubai’s government has announced the construction of a new airport in Jebel Ali, named Dubai World Central – Al Maktoum International Airport. It is expected to be the second largest airport in the world by physical size, though not by passenger metrics. It opened 27 June 2010,  however construction is not expected to finish until 2017. The airport is expected to be able to accommodate up to 160 million passengers. There has been an official plan to build the Dubai Metro Purple Line to connect Al Maktoum International Airport to Dubai International Airport; construction is set to begin in 2012. There have been rumours that the Purple Line is on hold, or even cancelled.



Dubai World Central – Al Maktoum International Airport ) is the official name of a major international airport in Jebel Ali,  23 miles south west of Dubai, (UAE) that opened on 27 June 2010.

….. It has been named after the late Sheikh Maktoum bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the former ruler of Dubai. It will be the main part of Dubai World Central, a planned residential, commercial and logistics complex scheme. World Central is the world’s first truly integrated logistics platform, with most transport modes, logistics and value-added services, including manufacturing and assembly, in a singlefree economic zone.

The new airport will cover an area of 55,000 acres (220 km squ). The airport is referred to as “the world’s first purpose-built aerotropolis“, with a projected annual capacity of 12 million tonnes of freight and between 160 million and 260 million passengers, an ambitious goal that is twice the capacity of any other planned development worldwide.  Currently, however, only a handful of airlines operate out of Al Maktoum International Airport in terms of passenger services, which just recently began in late 2013.

…The project was originally expected to be fully operational by 2017, although the 2007–2012 global financial crisis subsequently postponed the completion of the complex to 2027.




Dubai threatens Britain’s supremacy with $32bn mega-hub airport

Dubai, which is already stealing Britain’s crown as a global aviation hub, has announced plans to plough $32bn into its second airport which will become the largest in the world

By , Leisure and Transport Correspondent (Telegraph)

The threat to Britain’s status as a leader in global aviation from expanding airports in the Middle East has been lifted to another level, as Dubai on Monday announced plans to invest $32bn (£19.8bn) in creating a mega-hub in the desert.

The funds will be ploughed into Dubai’s second airport, Al Maktoum International, and could potentially see it expand to accommodate 240m passengers a year, 100,000 more than the number of travellers who used all of London’s airports put together last year.

Al Maktoum will become the biggest airport in the world following the expansion, which will take place in two phases. The first, which will take between six and eight years to complete, will boost capacity to 120m passengers a year – 40m more than Heathrow’s current maximum. However it is eventually envisioned that mega-hub will cater for 240m passengers a year.

The gulf state’s current main airport, Dubai International, is already threatening Britain’s supremacy as a centre for aviation. In the first three months of this year it overtook Heathrow as the busiest airport in the world for international passenger traffic.

Dubai’s ambitious plans will inject extra urgency to the airports debate in Britain. Boris Johnson and business leaders such as Lord Norman Foster argue that Britain also needs to be bold and build its own new hub. Heathrow also stresses that the UK needs extra hub capacity in order to remain competitive. However, opponents to Heathrow expansion argue that the Gulf airports are already snatching away transfer passengers from European hubs and a second runway at Gatwick would meet the country’s needs for additional runway capacity in the short-term.

“This advantage is now ending as competitor hubs abroad such as Paris, Frankfurt and Dubai overtake us as the busiest airport for international passengers. Heathrow can’t keep up with them. It is full, with no spare capacity. Unless we expand, Heathrow’s comparative decline will make the whole of the UK a less attractive place to do business as we fail to offer the range of destinations businesses need.”



Some comments below the Telegraph story:

Dubai is expanding an airport located 20 or 30 miles into the desert from Dubai city. It has almost no impact on anyone other than a few camels. The Heathrow expansion, however, will subject millions of London residents to more noise and pollution. The Dubai airport can operate 24 hours per day whereas Heathrow cannot.

It’ll threaten nothing if ISIS gets hold of it.

I can’t see how Heathrow can be a hub – the geography is all wrong. If you are coming from north or south America, you can fly direct to Paris, Amsterdam or Frankfurt, you don’t need to go to Heathrow. If you are coming from Asia then you have to overfly Europe to get to Heathrow, so what is the point of that? A hub is in the centre of the wheel, not way out on the rim of it. Heathrow doesn’t make any sense. It did when London was the centre of the universe and aircraft could not fly non stop long hauls, but those days ended a long, long time ago and things are different now.

t’s 3,400 miles from Heathrow to Dubai. I’m willing to admit I’m a bit slow but can someone explain to me how airport capacity in Dubai has any relevance whatsoever to our need, if we have one, for a hub airport? Is someone going to stop off in Dubai because he couldn’t stop off at Heathrow?