A $35 Billion Hub— Dubai to Bring Largest Airport in The World

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Dubai has released a groundbreaking plan to transform Al Maktoum International Airport into the largest airport in the world, with a new terminal expected to handle up to 260 million passengers annually. The project is set to cost nearly $35 billion, representing a significant step towards positioning Dubai as a leading global hub for air transportation and urban development. The initiative was announced by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the ruler of Dubai and the prime minister of the United Arab Emirates through the means of X.

The development of the new terminal at Al Maktoum International Airport is a part of a larger vision of establishing a full-fledged city within Dubai South, a sprawling economic zone that covers 55 square miles on Dubai’s southern edge. The redesigned airport, featuring five parallel runways and 400 boarding gates, is designed to address the increasing needs of global air travel. This expansion project is designed to eventually transfer operations from Dubai International Airport, with Emirates and Flydubai expected to move their headquarters to the new site within the next ten years.

Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, president of the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority and CEO of Emirates, has indicated that the first phase of the project will be completed within a decade, providing a capacity for 150 million passengers annually. The plan is to expand its capacity to 260 million passengers during the upcoming phases, reshaping the structure of air transportation by establishing Al Maktoum International Airport as not only Dubai’s largest airport but also the largest airport in the world.

In addition to its large capacity, the new terminal is designed to become a center for commerce, innovation, and urban development. The surrounding area, known as Dubai South, will include housing for up to one million people and will offer a range of amenities for logistics, business, and technology. This ambitious project aligns with Dubai’s strategic focus on advanced aviation technologies and urban growth, marking a bold step towards redefining the city’s role in global transportation and economic exchange.

Paul Griffiths, CEO of Dubai Airports, emphasized the importance of this expansion, saying it strengthens Dubai’s reputation as a top aviation hub globally. The same sentiment is shared by Emirates chairman Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed al-Maktoum, who mentioned that the new airport will be the main base for Emirates, Flydubai, and other airlines, making it easier to connect with destinations around the world through Dubai.

The hike in air traffic following the COVID-19 pandemic has played a significant role in gearing up this project. In 2022, Dubai International Airport recorded 86.9 million passengers, surpassing pre-pandemic levels. This rapid recovery has highlighted the need for additional capacity, reinforcing the urgency for the expansion at Al Maktoum International Airport.

Ultimately, the vision of Dubai’s largest airport is more than just handling a higher volume of air traffic. It’s also about creating a stronger link for global trade, culture, and tourism. This project represents a bold and ambitious commitment to reshaping the future of urban development and global connectivity.

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