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Dubai Plans Huge Investment In Aviation

by Lorys Charalambous,, Cyprus

13 July 2011

The Ruler of Dubai and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates has endorsed Dubai Airport's USD7.8bn airspace expansion programme, which will boost capacity at Dubai International Airport from 60 million to 90 million passengers per year by 2018.

The plans, designed to support the continuation of the aviation sector's impressive growth in Dubai, were presented to Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, at a high-level meeting held at Dubai International.

It is expected that the aviation sector will make a substantial contribution to Dubai’s future economic expansion, and generate 22% of total employment and 32% of the emirate’s GDP by 2020. Estimates project that international passenger and cargo traffic will increase at an average annual growth rate of 7.2% and 6.7%, respectively, in future years.

“The combination of rallying tourism, Dubai’s proximity to the emerging economies of India and China, and the emirates’ established role as a trading hub, is together expected to drive traffic growth and further elevate Dubai’s status as a global centre for aviation,” said Ahmed Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman of Dubai Airports and President of Dubai Civil Aviation Authority.

“By 2020, 98.5 million passengers and over four million tonnes of air freight will pass through our airports. The fleets and networks of Emirates and flydubai will grow considerably to accommodate traffic and capture market share. Similarly, our infrastructure must expand to enable this growth and facilitate the trade, tourism and commerce that in turn will support the prosperity of Dubai.”

To cope with additional aircraft movements, Dubai Airports is engaging national and regional civil aviation authorities and air navigation service providers to ensure that air routes are decongested, bottlenecks are reduced and latent airspace capacity is unlocked. Next generation technology such as performance-based navigation and dynamic airspace management will be deployed over the coming years to harness the capabilities of modern fleets and increase airspace capacity.

As airspace opens up, additional aircraft movements will be accommodated on the ground with the addition of a new taxiway and a 60% increase in the number of stands needed to park and service aircraft. The addition of a third concourse, due to be completed at the end of 2012, will boost capacity to 75 million passengers. Dubai Airports will also commission the construction of additional terminal space and concourse areas comprising an extra 675,000 square metres of floor space – twice the size of London Heathrow Terminal 5. This includes the expansion of Terminal 2 and the construction of a new concourse - Concourse 4 – which will be connected to Terminal 1 to facilitate check-in and baggage servicing.

Additionally, Dubai Airports will upgrade baggage systems across the airport to accommodate demand over the life of the project. Plans include the construction of a remote baggage facility and a high-speed baggage link that will support efficient and timely connections. Cargo capacity will also be augmented with a 30,000 square metre expansion of the cargo terminal.

“Our plan effectively responds to the need to accommodate rapid traffic growth with timely, efficient and high quality infrastructure,” explained Dubai Airports CEO, Paul Griffiths. “It recognizes the need to match capacity with service quality. It augments our ability to provide quick and easy transfers that effectively solidify Dubai’s status as a hub that connects the world. And it optimizes cash flow to fund future development.”

Following the completion of Dubai International's upgrade, work will commence on Phase 2 of Dubai World Central (DWC) from 2018 to 2023, with initial capacity set at 80 million passengers per year. Once fully completed, DWC will be the world’s largest airport with five runways and capacity for 160 million passengers and 12 million tonnes of cargo annually.

“This is another landmark moment in Dubai’s proud aviation history and sets us firmly on course to become the world’s busiest airport for international passenger traffic by 2015,” said Griffiths.

TAGS: aviation

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